Sunday, 29 September 2013

Off to Jordan

The worst part of doing overseas trips is the time it takes to get to your destination.

Travelling from canberra to London takes more than 24 hours elapsed time.

At present Trevor and I are in the air (it is 3:15pm Jordan time) and it is more than 27 hours since we left our Yorkshire "home". The first part went quickly. We drove in to Scarborough to return our rented car. We did one stop on the way to post a box of books padded with items of attire (beanies, scarfs and the like) that we would not need in Jordan. The box weighed in just on 8kgs and while it did cost a pretty penny I think it well worth the money as it reduces what we are lugging around.

We had a wait at the car hire depot. There were only two staff on and quite a few clients coming and going, plus phone calls, and Aaron was out doing a drop off. After a wait of about half an hour we were dropped down at the Scarborough Railway Station. We had a bit of time to kill which was OK a Trevor needed to post Tom back to his home and we needed to get some lunch.

Our train left at ... headed for York. It was a comfortable trip passing through countryside and places that we had either visited or seen the signs to numerous times when we were out and about.

The change of trains in York was pretty painless. There was wifi access on the train, ata cost of course, and I used part of the time checking some of my swimming stuff, as wellas looking out the window as we whizzed past villages, towns and countryside.

Getting to the tube station at Kings Cross was fine as there were lifts. It was still a bit of a drag but that is part of the whole experience. At Paddington there were no lifts or escalators to get out of the underground. We had to lug the cases up the stairs. On one to the stairs a passenger going down to the platform gave us a hand. very kind and much appreciated.

Once over at the Heathrow Express we were able to relax a bit. The express only takes 15 minutes from Paddington to Heathrow and the Qantas counters were pretty quiet when we presented ourselves.

Going though security was a pain. My carefully packed bag ended up looking like a dogs breakfast. I set off the alarm so had to remove my shoes which were rescanned and I was given a through body frisk by a female security guard. I still haven't worked out what caused the red light. Perhaps it was my watch but it has been though a number of other scans without problem.

We headed for the Qantas lounge which turned out to be the American Airlines lounge, Qantas' One World partner. It definitely was not up to the norm lounge standard but was definitely better than hanging around in the general waiting area.

Our flight was leaving at 9:30pm meaning that we were getting close to 12 hours of elapsed travel time by the time we got airborne. Unfortunately, the flight time between London and Dubai is around six hours which is hardly enough to get a decent sleep.

We had almost 7 hours in Dubai which I used to do more swimming stuff. I was pleased to discover that the business Centre at the airport had Word. Big mistake. It was running the latest version of Word and Windows 8. Goes Word did some very strange things. I managed to finished the program to go to the printer for the Burley Griffin meet and emailed it off with a great deal of relief.

It had looked as if our flight to Amman would get away early but we sat on the ground for a good 30 minutes after we were told we were leaving. I think we both managed to go to sleep during the wait.

I scored a winow seat out of London and another on today. This should have been great except both were slap bang over the very large wing obscuring most of what could have been seen if the view was unobstructed.

Because we were travelling with a designated tour group on our arrival into Jordan we were required to pay for a visa. This cost us JOD 20 each. A JOD is worth just slightly less than a pound sterling. It seemed to take ages to shuffle to the head of the queue to do the passport control and then the visa. Our line was going so slowly that Trevor went and exchanged a bunch of our sterling pounds for Jordanian currency which was a good move as it made the visa process much faster when we were able to hand over the cash on the spot.

By the time we got down to the luggage hall the few remaining unclaimed suitcases had been removed from the carousal and were looking quite folorn. We were not the last.

We walked though the customs hall without challenge. All our bags had been screen and obviously didn't look as if they had contraband inside.

When we walked out into the arrivals hall I was very pleased to see someone holding up a sign with our names on it. There must have been 60 or so people with signs so finding our man was a minor success.

The driver was giving a lift back into Amman to one of the tour people who works out at the airport. The airport is about 45 minutes drive away from the western part of the city so getting a lift is helpful. By the time four of us got into the car and our lugguage the card was well loaded up. I'm sure tht Anony would have enjoyed the drive into Amman. I just kept think that the car had not dints or obvious scrapes. Lane changing is an artform and necessary as the roads come in and go off and sometimes have a roundabout or seven to add to the fun. We were duly deposited at our hotel, the rather grand sounding Al Fanar Palace Hotel. it was almost 6 o'clock by the time we arrived. Taking the 2 hour time difference between England and Jordan we had been on the move for 30 hours.

A rep from local tour company that does the on ground work for Exodus caught up with us just after we arrived. We will be meeting our guide tomorrow morning.

We ate at the hotel and are happy to hit the sack early after the lack of sleep overnight.

On the drive in from the airport we saw a heap of camels.

There is a lot of construction work going on with buildings and road work much in evidence.

The airport tyerminal is quite new and the old terminal is currently bing demolished.

Our driver chatted to us after he dropped of his colleague. He said that Jordan has a heavy reliance on tourism. It is its biggest industry. With all the trouble in neighboring countries cancelations were as much as 85%. Fortunately for everyone who relies on the tourist trade for their livihood the tourists are starting to return and bookings are now quite heavy.

Trevor reminded me of something that we both saw today. We were departing from the B terminal in Dubai. This is the terminal used for flights to meddle eastern countries. The toilets in the b terminal came with a hose and spray.

No comments:

Post a Comment