Holyland Pilgrimage (Day1) || Dubai, Amman

Mnl - Dubai

After a long 8 hour or so flight from Manila to Dubai, I'm now sitting near Gate 17 waiting (oh heck yeah it's a pretty long wait.. another 8 hours) for our connecting flight to Amman, Jordan.

Emirates certainly lived up to the numerous awards it has received. Although the flight was long, it wasn't that excruciating. Got to enjoy its 'award winning' in-flight entertainment system... watched Enchanted & Juno, slept, had a snack, watched a few episodes of Worlds Apart – Mongolia, Morocco, & Sarawak eps, slept, watched P.S. I Love you.. slept, had breakfast... and then whaddya know .. we landed at the Dubai Int'l Airport around 4:55am Dubai time (GMT+4).. so that's about 9am MNL.

The airport here is pretty much like your normal busy airport. Huge, and you can pretty much shop til you drop at their Duty Free haven!

Darn it I wish we could've stayed longer. Watching all those inflight infomercials about Dubai really made me drool over the Burj al Arab.. the Dubai Palm (heck, who in their right mind would ever dream about CREATING their own commercial/residential reclaimed area that's shaped like a palm tree?)

Oh.. and I also learned about the World. Yes. These freaks actually are building several reclaimed land masses again... now shaped like the islands & continents of the world. Would you like to buy Singapore for $12m?? Or how about Namibia island for $29m?? Sheesh. These friggin shieks really have it going for them ... :)

Hopefully I could visit Dubai again soon. For now lunch is on my mind, and the queue for the Emirates transit meal at Safar is like a mile long. :-/ Plus we still have several hours more to spare before we go bankrupt ... err... kidding. Before we board our plane to Amman.

Toodle-oo... I'll post DXB airport pics later. hahah! :-P

Dubai – Amman
We had to wait 8 hours (Wait. Ang kulit ko ano… Redundant!) before we could board the connecting flight to Amman.

By 2pm Dubai time, everyone was already tired from the trip…and we haven’t even started yet! Hahah!! So 2pm we were off to Amman on a 3 hour (or so) flight. Ooh. I wolfed down the lamb tajine and the couscous served on board, while watching P.S. I Love You (again! Coz that damn stewardess had to grab all our headsets and I didn’t get to finish the movie *sob*)

So finally by 5pm Jordan time (JO is 6 hours behind MNL, [2 hours behind Dubai], but due to daylight savings – I think – now it’s 5 hours behind) we get off at the Queen Alia International Airport at Amman.

I hate waiting, I hate queues. My mom bugs me so much because she says I’m very impatient. I’d like to correct her… I am VERY VERY impatient. So then we had to wait for our local immigration guy to facilitate the group visa thingie. 540 or so we were finally finally on our bus on the way to our hotel, Days Inn Amman.

We met our local guide – Osama. Yes. Osama. The entire group snickered, but at least our Pinoy tour leader, Carl Benasa, went ahead with the disclaimer – he’s Catholic, and his grandpa? (or was it uncle? I forget) is the Bishop here. Wow. Ok cool. He looks decent enough, Jill – he looks like Asif. LOL

So Osama went on with his introduction… he has been a guide for 15 years 22 days 6 hours…hahaha very funny. He has his BA and has written 4 books about Jordan and also has co-written part of Lonely Planet Middle East – the part with Jordan of course.

Osama is part of one of the most prominent Bedouin tribes :) Rich dad, rich mom (daughter of a Sheik), well educated siblings (1 doc, 1 lawyer, he's the black sheep.LOL But well educated as well, real estate developer, jeweller, tour guide, author of travel books, etc. Our tour guide was from Madaba. He claims that there… everybody’s my cousin. Hehe! Neighbors know each other.

Throughout our ride to the hotel, he entertained us with little tidbits about Jordan. I was busy taking pictures, and taking down some of the interesting facts that he mentioned:

Some Tidbits about Jordan:
  • 82% of Jordan is desert
  • Jordan only has about 650mm of rainfall per year
  • Phosphate producer
  • Country with highly educated people
  • 8 beer factories, 2 cola factories (Coke & Pepsi)
  • Growing tourism industry – e.g. Petra only had 4 hotels before. Now it has 64, and still it was hard to book a room
  • Strong currency – Sheesh. I’ve now been to a country where the US$ is crap. :-P
  • Population of about 5.9M
  • 42% of population is in Amman (by night), 64% by day
  • 56% of the population is young, 3% really old. Life expectancy about 71.5 years old
  • 40% of Jordanians are real Jordanians, 60% mixed
And for the other tidbits I'm just too tired to write them down. There's always Lonely Planet..or my trusty Let's Go Middle East Overland Turkey book (which incidentally I forgot to bring!! Stupid stupid) that I can read up on.

Our hotel was about 25 min away from the airport, we checked in, freshened up, had the buffet dinner at the lobby cafĂ©, and then … it was back to our respective rooms… and everyone’s praying for a good night’s sleep because tomorrow… we’ll be on our way to Petra :)

At the Dubai Security check counter
Ooh. Nice Camel
Tour Leader Carl Benasa, and our Jordan Tour Guide Osama
* In photo is me... with King Abdullah bin al-Hussein II hee hee :)