I have always wanted to travel to the Middle East, largely due to many of the same reasons that I decided to come on this program; my fascination with experiencing different cultures and places has been somewhat of a lifetime obsession. So in deciding where to travel to on my two-week spring break, beginning in Delhi, I figured that I had an opportunity to go somewhere far away from home, while still avoiding the parts in Asia we have already visited. Many places were initially considered, from Peru to a tour of sub-Saharan Africa, but most of them were ruled out due to financial and time constraints, and so somewhere in the Middle East seemed to be the best option. That is, aside from safety issues (the most obvious being the threat of terrorism and the massive attention given to it within the region in the mainstream press). Of all the countries I considered, many of which the US was either on strained diplomatic terms or literally at war with, Jordan was the obvious choice.
Although our group’s spring break began with some airport frustrations, especially a 14-hour delay and staying in a Kuwait airport hotel for a night, as soon as we arrived in Amman we knew we had made the right choice. Our itinerary was jam-packed: a few nights in Amman, a visit to Mt. Nebo, the mountain made famous by God and Moses, then on to float in the Dead Sea, then a hike through the beautiful and pristine Wadi Dana reserve, on to Petra, Wadi Rum, then snorkeling and relaxation time in the beach resort town of Aqaba, on the northern shore of the Red Sea.
Although not everything went exactly as planned, (by the way, if there is one thing you have to learn when traveling is to be flexible) the group and I had a wonderful time, and were able to experience something more unique and amazing than we could have thought, from loads of hummus and pita to Bedouin hospitality to seeing a sting ray gliding effortlessly through a spectacular tropical reef. An experience I’m sure we are all not soon to forget.
(Article by Jeff P.)