Dana Nature Reserve

We’ve just arrived in Amman, after spending 3 days on the Dana Nature Reserve. Despite how much I try to hide it, I’m just not a city girl at heart. It was so wonderful just to sit around and enjoy the relative quiet, the shouts of a few people, the braying of donkeys, the crowing of a rooster or two, and the many many songbirds. And for the first time, I learned that bats do actually make an audible noise – I always thought their sounds were too high-pitched for us to hear, but when I enquired about the weird nighttime squeakings (get your mind out of there!) – there were crickets, but also some high-pitched squeaks that we were told were the bats. Neat.

The weather again was a bit strange – fairly warm on the first 2 days, but kind of cloudy and foggy towards the end of the third day, culminating in spots of rain, and quite a foggy morning today. We didn’t think it rained much there at this time of year.

We were a little too tired still from our first 10 days or so in Jordan (diving, camel trekking, hiking around Petra), that we just didn’t get much hiking done on the reserve. It looked like a wonderful place to do that, and we were quite tempted to hike down to the bottom of API Call Errorthe valley, as we were told that the scenery there was fantastic, but the thought of the long climb back up was just too daunting. So instead, we sat around and relaxed for a few days, chatted with other travellers and with our hosts (who were absolutely fantastic!), and did just a short walk around API Call Errorthe village and surrounding API Call Errorgarden terraces.

The village itself is quite something – it’s a medieval stone village, that quite literally looks like something out of the movies (in fact, they are in the process of shooting an Italian movie there as I write this). Some of the buildings have fallen apart and are just API Call Errorpiles of stone, and immediately beside it a stone building with power and water – from the outside, looks like something from 1500, on the inside, only slightly updated for modern amenities. In fact the hotel was really just several of these stone huts joined together, with a few piles of rubble interspersed. The common room was in part a Bedouin tent on the roof, some long divans and a few patio tables. The room was comfortable, and quite clean (despite the ants, but buildings here just aren’t sealed from the elements the way they are at home – no screens on the windows or seals under doors) – last night after the rain brought an onslaught of mosquitoes, though, and we really did start to miss the window screens.

I didn’t really want to leave, but we can only sit around doing nothing for so long. I think we played ourselves out with Carcasonne (board game).

The next few days will take us to Madaba (in the environs of Mount Nebo, a biblically famous site), the Dead Sea, and Jerash (an ancient Roman site). By the end of the week, we expect to be in Damascus (Syria). (Which we are really looking forward to after speaking with other travellers who have just come from there – apparently Syrian hospitality rivals and/or surpasses that of Jordan.)

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