Sunday into Monday was a travel day- a very long one. We were happily surprised that it went pretty easily. A couple of blips: first, a major NY bike race that made leaving Manhattan to get to JFK rather difficult, and much later, some challenges at Cairo airport (not impressed). On the plus side, we were pleasantly surprised by Egypt Air, especially the food. We had used points to be in business class, and even though it wasn’t the Dreamliner that originally appeared on the itinerary, it was comfortable and nice. The second flight to Jordan was quick and easy. We followed Trip Advisor’s directions to go to the taxi stand instead of Uber or locals aggressively trying to get our business. Standard fare and no hassle there. Taxis seem to be relatively cheap, but we also found out that bargaining is the word of the day. Wendy was delighted to have the opportunity to show off her skills!
Our hotel, the Grand Hyatt, Amman is lovely and spacious. Our room is not huge, but comfortable, and they got us into it at our arrival time of 10:45 am (rather than the official 2pm check in) which was great as we were cranky and tired. We rested, got cleaned up, and Wendy explored while Jim was resting his foot (last stages of a gout flare up). Two pools, a gorgeous spa, and lots of outside spaces but in an area that is tricky and a bit far to walk to places.
We took a taxi to an area called Rainbow Street, a popular area according to tour books, but it was a bit underwhelming.
We bought our first falafel sandwich for dinner from a much written-about little stand called Al Quds. Not bad for 1JD (Jordanian Dinar, about $1.40], but I think we’ll get better ones in Israel.
The street is cute, little lanterns and other decorations, a few tourists and more locals. Jim enjoyed his first really good cup of coffee at another cafe before we bargained (again) with a sweet taxi driver to get back to our hotel.
There are a several museums in Amman (pronounced ah—MEN) but the one that appealed to us— the Royal Automobile museum was closed on Tuesday so after getting a delicious breakfast (which we almost missed after falling back asleep) we opted for a low key but wonderful spa day. We splurged on massages (fantastic), sauna, hot tub and swimming.
In the evening , we met out tour leader,Mohammed who has six names (more on that later), the other 9 members of our Jordan tour group, and got a brief overview of our time in Jordan. We ate a bountiful buffet dinner at the hotel trying quite a few Jordanian foods and enjoyed almost all.
Our real tour starts tomorrow.