2 days, 1 night: Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba. Hours of driving, lots of walking, intense heat and being around lots and lots of people causes crankiness. And a need for comic relief.
Normally, I wouldn't feel the need to fit in Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba in less than 48 hours but as my friend Kristin was leaving Jordan soon and hadn't seen any of the above, a weekend trip travelling at the speed of light was pretty much the only option.
I'll fast forward to the last couple hours of our trip which was on a boat ride in Aqaba. This was the very last thing on our agenda. After walking around in the scorching heat all day, going to the public beach (where we got stared at all the time since we were the only ones within eyesight who weren't fully covered) and various other misadventures, we were looking forward to some rest and relaxation. Specifically, a boat ride complete with a barbecue dinner, submarine view of the coral in the red sea and a half hour swim when the boat was anchored.
After waiting for about a half hour for the late tour group to arrive we boarded the boat, only to realize that because the tour group was late, it would (supposedly) be too dark to see the fish and coral in the submarine like compartment on the boat. Strike one. This was a bit of a bummer but we knew we still had a nice swim and barbecue dinner to look forward to.
This might come as a shock to some, but I opted to go swimming before eating. Generally speaking, I have a high tolerance for heat but that day was particularly hot and humid. As soon as the ship docked, Kristin, Gretchen and I got ready to go for a dip. We figured we would probably be the only ones since everyone else on the boat was family and didn't exactly look prepared to go for a quick swim.
Yellla! We walked around the boat, ready to get into the water, only to be met by a woman (who just happened to be blocking the stairs) saying, 'ma bsiir' (they shouldn't). This lady had picked the wrong day to piss us off.
A) We were promised that we could swim for a half hour and it was scorching hot.
B) I could understand what she was saying.
C) It had been a long two days.
D) We were trying hard to be culturally appropriate (Jordan Style) It's not our fault most 95% of the people who were on the boat were from Saudi Arabia and therefore very conservative.
Long story short, we went swimming. We climbed down the ladder, stripped down to our bathing suits and jumped in at the count of three.
We swam to the side of the boat (the crew wanted in us in close distance to prevent a lawsuit presumably) and were met by......all the passengers of the boat. Yep, all the passengers of the boat had decided it was a good idea to crowd around the side of the boat and watch Kristin, Gretchen and I swim. Usually being stared at in such a fashion perturbs me but this time I was slightly amused.
Hey, we were promised.