I’m on my way & Returned….FINALLY 😎

Petra to the Pyramids…here I come.

Arrived at airport 2 hrs prior to flight. No issues. Ticket agent asked to see my negative PCR results, entered info in the system and handed the paper back to me. I’m carrying 4 copies just in case.

Good airport foot traffic which is good to see—everyone appears to have TSA Pre-Check. Using CLEAR was a breeze. Take advantage of AMEX Platinum perks (after all, we’re paying a premium for them).

I’m now sitting in the lounge having hot tea. Everyone is required to wear a mask unless eating or drinking. I’m saving my appetite for the Qatar flight legs; however, I’ll probably have a small bite during my layover in Dallas at the AMEX Centurion lounge which I prefer over the Admirals Club. The Flagship lounge hasn’t reopened yet. I’m tracking the flight and it’s early. Fingers crossed the Doha to Amman leg is early or on-time—I want to avoid taking a PCR test upon arrival in Jordan as the new policy goes into effect Sunday.

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Comments

  • Anyone having problem with Jordan Biolab site to pay for the pcr test upon arrival?

  • farzanehmt Hi, you can also pay upon arrival.

  • It’s fantastic to get all these almost live reports from forum members on tours these past few months!

  • PureLuxury - Floating in the actual Dead Sea is quite a fun experience.

    I'm sure AlanS will be very interested in your assessment of the water temperature. I know he's very scared about floating in the Dead Sea in March because it will be too cold. 😂 😂

  • edited December 2021

    Don't worry, Sam. I'm sure AlanS has imported historical Dead Sea water temperature data into his spreadsheet. But you may be right about temperature. In March, there may be snow melt runoff from Israel's only ski area, Mt Hermon, that winds up in the Dead Sea.

  • PureLuxury - Do you still get to do Jerash? On my Israel/Jordan tour people that opted for spa treatments, for the most part, were the ones that skipped the tour of Jerash. Hopefully you get to visit it. I found Jerash to be quite impressive.

  • Smiling Sam I scheduled my spa treatment after we return. I got the last appointment for the day. I may miss part of a lecture on Life in Jordan that takes place before dinner—I’ll catch the last of it—I’ve read so much about Jordan over the past 2 yrs that I can stand to miss part of a lecture.

  • edited December 2021

    I'm sure taking a lot of grief this morning! :D Yes, Barry, I have already researched the water temps in the Dead Sea! The only unknown is if there will be a warm surface thermal- if not it will be downright frigid!!! I may try to gut it out just for bragging rights, but that heated indoor pool and especially the heated stone lounger sound much more inviting! :)

    This website gives better (warmer) temps than the last site I visited https://seatemperature.info/march/jordan-water-temperature.html

    "Jordan sea surface temperature right now

    Below are the cities and resorts in Jordan with the values of water temperature today and yesterday. Also indicated are the maximum and minimum water temperatures that were recorded this month for the last ten years. Presented weather data are now available for each of the resorts. For more detailed information about water temperature, surf forecast, weather and time of sunrise and sunset in any specific area of your interest, just click on a ctiy name. For ease of search, all places are also grouped by the first letter of the name."

    These are about the same temps expected in mid-March when we will be there.

    23.6°C = 75°F still a bit chilly for me but certainly doable!!!

  • AlanS - We will need visual proof of your daring feat - floating in the Dead Sea! 😂😂

  • edited December 2021

    Smiling Sam
    11:26AM
    AlanS - We will need visual proof of your daring feat . . .

    I'm taking my GoPro so will be able to provide an up-close and personal shot to document my float. :D

    Actually, I'm glad I looked up the water temps again. Last year, I looked at a different site which showed much cooler temps- in the mid-60's, which believe me is COLD! I suppose if I did the mud thing first the dark mud would absorb the heat of the sun more than just the skin of a white whale. :D

  • PureLuxury
    Habibi!!!!
    I'm so happy to hear you are in Jordan.. and that everything went smooth during your travels , so u are now in that beautiful hotel.
    Now is when the magic starts.....
    Your hotel pics brought a smile to my face... Love that place. Yes, the birds are so pretty and big.. I'm glad to hear you booked with TIK, she is amazing! take a selfy with TIK she is famous... :))
    The Spa! Ahhh...that ginger honey tea it's Amazing!! asked them how they do it... They will write it for you :))

    Did not missed anything by cancelling Bethany... sadly it's abandoned and weeds are taking over..

    PureLuxury, who is your TD and how big is the group? any flies? :))
    Don't miss the Lebanese rest. it is the Best!!! in the entire trip. Also ,if you really love the mud at the dead sea, they do sale it in the store, I bought some and it is amazing. if you do go to the stores say Hi to Marah on my behalf (spanish girl Mil) , please. she manage the antique store -great jewlery too and husb. the souvernir store, both great kids.
    Well lady keep enjoying the incredible hotel and take lots of pictures.
    Enjoy!!

  • AlanS - I Googled, Dead Sea swimming in March and found the following. 😂

  • PureLuxury, congratulations on a successful arrival in Jordan. Your post had me confused as to whether I had the Photos app open or the Tauck blog. We are on the tour two days ahead of you. We left for Petra today and it looks like we had breakfast at the same table this morning but not at the same time.

    We had the bold birds too but alas no photos. How big is your group? There are only nine in our group.

  • Habibti Mil we just finished the welcome reception & dinner. Our group has a total of 12. Great group of people with 4 solo travelers.

    Debra is our TD. She said 6 people canceled after it was announced Jordan was at a level 4-DNT. Too bad for them, more space to spread out on the coach for us :D

    Several folks are planning to hike the Monastery—so I’m excited to have hiking buddies. Deb said the only activity we will not participate in is the visit to the Khan el Khalili market—too crowded and no one wears masks. I met 2 couples at the Dead Sea who are traveling on their own from California. They said the market was really crowded, and hardly anyone was wearing masks. For safety reasons, I have no issue with missing that activity.

    I went to the gift shop earlier today but it hadn’t opened yet. I dashed in quickly later in the afternoon to change a large Dinar bill to give baksheesh to the guys at the Dead Sea—they were so helpful. I will make a point to visit both shops tomorrow and will share your regards with Marah and Tik.

    I will be sure to choose the Lebanese restaurant for one of my meals. One of the golf cart drivers also said it was very good.

    Early start tomorrow—goodnight!

  • I believe you guys are at a different hotel. We stayed at the Mövenpick. Here's a sunset at the Dead Sea overlooking an infinity pool pic. Once it got fully dark, we could see the lights of Jerusalem in the distance. (Sorry, but the forum software reoriented my pic sideways.)

  • Pureluxury
    I love the pictures. I’ll be on the same tour in a week. I hope nothing changes by then since this was supposed to be my 2020 trip!

  • I hope they take credit card cause I don’t plan to covert any money! I think the last time I actually exchanged money was when went to Russia with Tauck in 2016! Every country I have traveled since then accepted credit card or accepted US dollar.
    Is Jordan different?

  • Hi farzanehmt both Jordan & Egypt take US dollars.... I did change like about $50 for spare money..

    Hi BKMD , Yes... Tauck used to stay at the Mövenpick., but they do have a alliance with Kempinski , which are the best! so the switch was for the very best! The hotel is almost next to the Mövenpick. so the views of Palestine & Israel are the same... and Yes! the sunsets are amazing! Love your picture.

    Smiling Sam , Hello.... I could not stop laughing when I saw the picture.... You know .. this means war! ,AlanS will get you :D:D:D

    My dearest PureLuxury ,
    HABIBI!! , 12 in your group it's fantastic! you'll have a great time , more space in the bus and less time waisted waiting for others.... Yeap the market in Cairo it's pretty crowed, we didn't go either .. which it was okay.
    Yes, I believe the gift shop closes for lunch , Marah is super sweet, she will go the xtra mile for you and even more because you know me. :smile
    Enjoy every min. you will have an absolutely amazing trip.

  • Mil you’re a legend at the Ishtar Spa. Tik and Elvie remember you & your mom well. They asked me to say hello to you and thank you for recommending the Spa. The spa treatment was wonderful.

    I’m enjoying another serving of the delicious snd aromatic Ginger-Honey tea. Tik told me how to make it…so yummy & healthy.

    Tonight there’s a speaker who will discuss Jordan and the Womens movement—should be interesting but I must stop at the gift shop first.

    -Robin

  • Robin, Are you off to Mt Nebo, Madaba, and Petra in the morning? It is sometimes hard to keep track due to the 6 hr time difference and time stamp on your posts. By my reckoning, right now it should be approaching 6:00 pm in Jordan on Day 2 of the tour? :D

    If possible, on Petra day, could you take note of your trek to the Monastery- time it takes you to trek from the Basin Restaurant to the Monastery and the time it takes you to make it back down. And to put it in context, could also please make note, in a general sense, the age/condition of your fellow trekkers and how everyone did on the trek? Thanks.

    Enjoy your Lebanese dinner!

  • AlanS - I Googled, Hiking to Petra's Monastery in March and found the following: 😂

  • When Levinson Wood did his 5000 mile walk thru Arabia, he mentioned the monastery took him 45 minutes and the views spectacular. Sam, did you walk up to the Monastery? Wondering if I will be up to it in March when we go. …well hope we go at this point, not looking good for the Israel and Jordan tour.😕

  • I just found this informative and fun piece on the hike. The writer is young, 29, but looks very over weight, and she did it.
    https://eatsleepbreathetravel.com/the-petra-monastery-hike/

  • jejejej! Hi R. glad you enjoyed the Spa.- Tik is amazing :) and Elvie a sweetheart. Actually I'm sure the entire hotel remember us.. we where there 4 days + 2 with Tauck, we made friends :) . Love them all, Jordanians are super friendly and kind.
    Please, pass on the tea recipe as you come back...
    Let us know your thoughts about the Lecture... I did not attend, I already knew from a person what it was about and one of the subjects was uncomfortable for me, so I decided to continue with my happy journey.
    Keep having fun!

  • edited December 2021

    British
    11:08AM
    When Levinson Wood did his 5000 mile walk thru Arabia, he mentioned the monastery took him 45 minutes and the views spectacular. Sam, did you walk up to the Monastery? Wondering if I will be up to it in March when we go. …well hope we go at this point, not looking good for the Israel and Jordan tour.😕

    11:17AM
    I just found this informative and fun piece on the hike. The writer is young, 29, but looks very over weight, and she did it.

    I may have seen both, but remember seeing the second article a year or two ago(?) during my research. I believe I even have it bookmarked to show anyone else in our group that might be contemplating the trek. I noticed from the title alone she is a "non-hiker". And also, not in shape, has asthma, and, if I am correct in assuming that is her in the blue T-shirt in two of the photos, she is a bit overweight. This one sentence stuck out, however, "I’m not going to lie and say it was easy, but honestly, it wasn’t nearly as hard as I expected."

  • Smiling Sam
    11:00AM
    AlanS - I Googled, Hiking to Petra's Monastery in March and found the following: 😂

    I'll just need to take snowshoes and strap them to my back during the trek, just in case.

    Petra day for us is 20 March.

    Instead of WeatherSam, I think I'll put my faith in Weatherspark or articles like this:

    "In March, Petra emerges from the cold and rainy days of winter. The rain gradually tapers off as the month progresses (rain falls on only four days this month, as an average), the sun shines more forcefully, and by month-end, the first burst of wildflowers color the dun landscape in bright pastels. Nonetheless, expect some lingering cold spells (it’s even been known to snow in early March). Petra’s temperature averages 64°F (18°C) for the month, rising to an average high of 66°F (19°C).

    Overall, it’s a good month for visiting and enjoying the abundant sunshine, and the burst of wildflowers coloring the dun landscape in bright pastels. Pack clothing for both warm and cold conditions, and include a rainproof jacket and/or umbrella. Don’t forget a shade hat and sunscreen, especially if you plan on heading to Aqaba for beach time.

  • Hi AlanS it’s 8:07pm (Monday) as I’m writing this. It’s a beautiful evening. I’m dining outdoors and there is a wonderful heat lamp keeping me toasty.!

    I’m losing track of days myself…I thought I had another day here at the Dead Sea but we depart tomorrow morning at 8:30 heading south to Amman. We will hike Petra on Wednesday. I will be sure to take note of time to complete the hike and hiker demographics.

    I asked the TD if those of us who hike to the Monastery would have an opportunity to ride a camel. The response was yes. She will make arrangements with a guide to contact the camel guy to meet us when we return.

    Robin Tauck sponsored this particular camel guy many years ago. She helped with his education and he lived in the USA for a while. When he returned to Amman she supported him in setting up his camel business— so for all to know, Tauck only uses the services of a one specific camel person at Petra. That’s quality control.

    I’d love to chat more; however, my Mansaf is headed to my table. The waiter tried his darnest to persuade me not me to order it. He said it was too heavy—even for Jordanians. He recommended 3 other dishes. When he noticed I wasn’t acquiescing, he then told me it would take about 25-30 minutes to prepare. Perhaps that was the reason??? He then stated it was the National dish of Jordan (which I was aware) and that I wouldn’t be able to order it in Egypt—the young fella will never survive in business development.

    Check out my dinner: Mansaf (lamb) served with yellow rice in a puff pastry and my 2nd favorite new drink: Ishstar Lemon mint.

    Cheers—

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