As expected, getting to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was quite a ride. Figuratively and literally! The ferry from Hurghada to Sharm el Sheihk was canceled, so we booked a flight instead from Luxor to Sharm el Sheikh. When that was also cancelled we settled in for a 24 hour bus ride (with about 4 inches of leg room) across the Sinai Peninsula. There were checkpoints every couple of hours, day and night; sometimes just to check everybody’s ID, sometimes for the full drill when everybody had to get off the bus, drag our luggage from the storage area below, stand in a row with our open bags in front of us while a stern official with a very big gun walked down the line checking IDs and rummaging through luggage. The guys sitting in front of us were detained and the bus carried on without them. Yep – quite a ride!
To get our PCR test before leaving Egypt, we were given a phone number of a man named Waleed and told to communicate with him by WhatsApp. He said he would come to our hostel in Dehab. We waited for him on the street corner (which seemed suspect) and in due time he arrived, we led him to our room, he did the swab, and we gave him our cash. It felt like a drug deal! But he assured us that he was with the government and sure enough the next morning he WhatsApp’d us with our negative results and our government issued QR code..
We also needed to fill out and submit an online application before being issued a QR entry code for Jordan. On the form the only way to enter our date of birth was to scroll back from January 2022. That’s 60 years of scrolling, month by month! Who does that – the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, that’s who! I was almost there (more than once) when the glitchy form kicked me back to 2022. The young men at the front desk of our poshy hotel helped us upload, download and reload until the wretched form was finally submitted! Sometimes it takes a village..
Armed with printed out documents and QR codes coming out the wazoo, we bought our ferry tickets. Our papers were checked approximately 11 different times, we received another PCR test on board the boat, we said goodbye to Egypt and set sail for Aqaba.
The Arabian desert is one of the driest deserts in the world. What people do is prearrange to have a load of water dropped at a gps coordinate. We are trying to get some water drops organized as there is no water source for the first two sections of the trail (which represents approximately 200 kilometres). Tomorrow we are finally leaving souvenir stalls, tourist attractions, civilization, and all creature comforts behind. I am so ready! And I’m super excited to sleep in my new tent!
The 650 km Jordan Trail is unmarked and we will be following Gord‘s electronic trail app to find our way. The trail is divided into eight sections with each section taking us approximately a week of hiking. We will be slow and that’s OK. I doubt we will get it finished and that’s ok too. The terrain is challenging. We will take one step at a time for as long as we can and add our humble footprints along the paths where travellers and traders have wandered as far back as the Old Testament. I wonder how Moses got his water!