Travelling to Amman, Jordan

We turned in at Eve’s at about 930 to try and get a few hours sleep before our taxi at 1230 (midnight).  It was a horrible moment when the alarm went off at midnight.  We were sound asleep and groggy….. anyway, it was a lovely moment to come downstairs and find Clive and Marylyn, up and waiting to say goodbye to us.    Next time we see them, there will be baby Rodrigues!!!

The road to Dabolim airport was empty and we were there in just over an hour.  Check in was pretty smooth and the queues not too bad.  We were flying Air Arabia all the way to Amman with a change of planes in Sharjah.  Quite nice flights: 3.5 hours to Sharjah, 1.5 hours on the ground and then 3.5 hours to Amman.  The planes were newish and the service was good in a low cost operator sort of way ie you paid for food and drinks.  No alcohol on Air Arabia.  We got 30kg of checked baggage as standard each of us though so that was a plus.

Sharjah airport was….. well….. let’s just say it won’t give its near neighbour Dubai International any sleepless nights.   Like the bazaar in Candahar on a busy afternoon if you get my drift!!  They took Bob’s hand luggage to bits checking all his charger cables and then confiscated his roll of Gorilla Tape.  Seemed to think it could be a useful kidnapping aid.   There were actual footprints on the loo seats in the public toilets.

Amman Airport, on the other hand,  is very nice indeed and we were through super fast.  We’d bought a Jordan Pass online in advance.  This gives us free access to many sites here and also pays for the entry visa.  You still have to get the visa stamped on arrival but you don’t have to pay for it and you join a special fast track queue.  Also it gives us two days entry to Petra and no need to queue there at all.

Our car hire guy met us at arrivals and took us to the car parked outside.  It’s some sort of Toyota saloon.  We used the Sygic gps system to guide us to the hotel – it works without a phone signal as long  as you have the map dowloaded previously.  Did pretty well.  A few spanners in the works due to roadworks and detours but we made it unscathed.  Amman is the only busy place we will drive, and then, not much.  We’ll mainly walk or Uber around here, using the hire car to get out of town and between locations.

We have a suite for 4 nights at the Celino Suites hotel.  It’s on the outer edge of downtown in a hotel zone which I thought was a compromise with a car to park .  We got such a friendly welcome from the staff which reinforces our impression from last year.  Jordanians are super friendly and genuinely welcoming to visitors.  The immigration officer who processed me at the airport, said to me “Welcome to the kingdom of Jordan!   Welcome!  Welcome!”  Don’t think anyone will be getting that in London or New York 🙂

We’ve got a one bedroom apt which sleeps 4.  There is a little kitchenette which I doubt we will use other than for drinks.  It cost about £40 per night with breakfast included.  The wifi’s pretty good too.

Had a frustrating trip out to a nail bar appointment to get my extra long nails sorted out.  The Uber absolutely crawled through the traffic which was horrendous.  I hate being late.  Then when we finally arrived at the location shown on the Uber map, it was a bank.  Looked around couldn’t find the nail bar.  We had no wifi and the driver spoke no English, so in the end we had to go back to the hotel.  Messaged the place once we were back and it turned out that they are on the 3rd floor of the bank but there’s no mention of that in their ad or website.   GRRR.  Rearranged for tomorrow.

We took another Uber to the car rental place to pay for the car.  Their card machine was not mobile so they just told us to come in.  Ubers are very cheap here.  Like about £2 for a 20 min journey.  We decided to use them rather than our car because the traffic in the city (unlike anywhere else) is really, really bad.  We got that done and then the chap drove us back to our place, he wouldn’t take any money for it.

We had dinner at the Landmark Hotel which is just below us on the hill, about a 7 minute walk.  Had a glass of wine (happy hour) in their lounge and listened to the piano player and then took the lift up to the top floor.  Up there was the Skyline Sushi Bar, rated to be the best sushi and Thai food in Jordan.  And on a Wednesday evening, from 8 till 10, it’s all you can eat sushi for £25.  Well, we had to try that.

It was a really nice room with stupendous views of Amman all around.  It wasn’t a buffet. You ordered what you wanted from the sushi list and the chefs rolled it or cut it.  Bob had a bowl of miso soup to start and we shared some pancake rolls.  Then an enormous sushi boat arrived with all the different rolls and sashimi we’d ordered.  It was very good.  Not the best I’ve had anywhere, but definitely very good indeed.  We ordered some more.  Not as much.  And it was while we were waiting for that, that I hit the wall……  felt sooo tired and also so full…. too late.  We did our best with the second plate and got the cheque.  Got back up the hill to our place and crashed right out.