Saturday, December 27, 2014

Long Walks on the Beach

Christmas Day I took a five hour bus from Jerusalem toward Elait, for 82INS, I jumped off on the side of the road one km from the boarder and walked int the burning desert toward the Yitzhak Rabin boarder that divides the southern most parts of israel and Jordan. It was an easy crossing. We first exited Israel paying 107INS exit fee. After passport control, that unfortunately stamped an Israeli exit stamp in my passport, I headed through the Dutyfree shop to no-mans land. We walked the 100 meters between countries before we reached the Jordan boarder. Here it was easy, no fee, no visa, just some stamps and a really nice police officer in a tourist information booth who gave is some information about Jordan. We then headed outside where the taxi mafia was waiting to scoop us up. 

I have heard about many horror stories about these taxi drivers. I had no problems. On the board it shows the prices for each destination (Aqaba, petra, Wadi Rum) with the price. Don't let them charge you more and try to find people to share with. I shared with a girl I met at the boarder. Then from the center of Aqaba I took the same taxi to South Beach for 5JD to International Arab Dive Center where I would spend the next two days diving. It's easy to get ripped off if you are a push over, demand the written price and you will have no issues. 

For Christmas dinner I headed out with my new friend Francois for some baba Ghanoush, hummus and falafel. Dinner for two costed 7JD (about $10) and we could not finish it all. After we went to a local shop for baklava which was only 0.50JD for two pieces. We headed to a pub with a view for some local beer and wine and then headed back to the hotel for some sleep. 

The day after Christmas I headed out to the beach for my first dive for my Advanced Diver Certificate. First I did the Fish ID dive and saw some awesome fish including scorpion fish, slugs, sea potatoes, nemo fish and much more. After I did the Peak Boyancy Dive. I was wiped out after my dive, I took a quick nap and met up with Francois. We walked to the beach with noodle soup and snacks and watched the sunset over the Eygptian mountains. 

After a good nights sleep I work up to finish my last three dives, deep dive, wreck dive and navigation dive. It was a great day. On the wreck dive we swam under and around a huge container ship that had sunk on its side. I remember swimming around the crows nest, which now was teeming with life. By 1:30pm I was done with my dives and had finished my course. I headed out to celebrate with Francois at Syrian Palace for some thabole, hummus, meat/potatoes/tomatoe plate and grilled local fish. We then headed to Kempinski Bar to enjoy the view of the Red Sea, Egypt, Israel and Jordan. 

Tomorrow Francois and I are heading to Petra by taxi (45JD) wish us luck. 

Check out my Red Sea scuba diving video on YouTube.

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