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We arrived in Jordan on the 5th December and following Robin's instructions negotiated the border with ease. Robin is driving his Landrover back home to Cape Town and we met him briefly in Palmyra and again on the road to Damascus. We had a 15 minute delay before we could start the procedure as the visa office was closed for prayers.

 

South of the border we looked for a spot to camp and headed for Rumman reservoir.

We followed a hill climb route all the way down to the reservoir where we bathed Nelly.

The views were very reminiscent of the Mediterranean countries.

 

  Photo of Nelly's bath photo 586

On Saturday we decided to negotiate Amman in search of the Sudanese Embassy to try and renew our visas. Using the GPS waypoint from Neil and Sue Lawson we found it with the minimum amount of fuss. Unfortunately it was closed for the weekend so we had to go back again on Sunday and even more unfortunately they could only renew it for two weeks, absolutely no use to us, and told us to try in Cairo. After the embassy we went to Safeway. It wasn't as exciting as it could have been but we did have great ice creams.

The next task was to get new tyres for Nelly. We started quite promisingly and even got bought dinner by the first place we tried but they only had Indian tractor tyres that would fit. On Sunday we tried some more places and ended up at the Continental dealer who had four tyres, MPT80's. These are what Andreas has on his 101 and after a chat with him we returned the next day to buy them. We have kept two of the old ones as spares as the new ones are radial and the old ones cross ply and we will keep an eye out for another continental one.

 
We then spent a very pleasant day driving south along the desert Highway to Aqaba watching the scenery change as the temperature increased. The road goes down this amazing hill with all the lorries crawling along so slowly that you can see the wheels revolving. We stayed on the beach in Aqaba for a couple of nights and sorted out the shipping of our LPG tanks back to the UK. We then moved north to Wadi Rum.

 

Photo of Wadi Rum photo 643

On our way there we saw a couple of Mercedes vans parked up and stopped to investigate, whilst stood there, Robin turned up again, a strange coincidence. The next two days were spent with Robin and Thomas driving along the desert track back to Aqaba. The scenery in Wadi Rum is stunning. The tracks are there and some soft patches are combined with corrugated bits but there are no signposts at all. Basically, you can drive where ever you want and there are tracks leading everywhere and nowhere. The trick is to find one going where you want to go. It was our first desert driving and it was good to be with some other vehicles.

The problem along the drive was that we had not checked the wheel nuts after the shop in Amman fitted the tyres and one of the back wheels fell off. We spent a few hours fixing it but as we only had four spare wheel studs and we had to return to Aqaba to get two more made up. This was accomplished in a morning and then we got a 16mm tap and die to fix the old ones for use in an emergency.

 

Chris's Parents flew out on the 15th December for a week and we had a whirlwind tour of the sights of Jordan. First stop was Petra for two days where we walked lots and marvelled at the colours in the sandstone. The monuments were good but the rock has so many colours in it, it was as though someone had marbled it.

 

 

Petra photo 665  

 

Gill and Dave

Their camel ride on the second day.

 

Petra photo 686

 

Driving north from Petra we headed through more mountainous scenery, past ice covered trees to the dizzy depths of the Dead Sea. 400m below sea level and we had our bob in the water on the northern coast. Back south we wanted to show them Wadi Rum so they borrowed our tent and saw so many stars they couldn't find the constellations they knew. Their week with us finished back in the warmth of Aqaba and a swim in the Red Sea. There are many fishes and corals really close in to the shore, the only problem is that the wind feels very cold when you get out.

We spent Christmas Day in Wadi Rum, and had a few days of climbing, scrambling and walking among the mountains. The climbing has been very committing because of the length of the routes and most of the descents were by abseiling back down. The scrambling was very enjoyable, there are cairns and arrows to help you find your way and the views are ever changing. The silence is the most noticeable thing about Wadi Rum when you are there for a few days. You get up in the morning and there are no sounds other than what you make yourself.

The end of 2003 saw us getting some things fixed and altered, the spare wheel holder developed a crack which needed welding and a bolt was sheared off in the exhaust manifold when it was replaced in England and we finally got round to getting it fixed. We got our Egyptian visas on the last day of the year, ready to start the new one in a new continent.

 
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