My first stop on my trip to Jordan was Aqaba. After a long bus ride through the night, my group arrived at Taba, Egypt around 6 or so in the morning. The sun had just risen, and the air was nice and cool. After crossing the Egyptian border into Israel, we had to pay Israel about about 30 USD to get in there. We took a cab through the town of Eilot, the small, southernmost town in Israel, nestled on the northern tip of the Red Sea. Even though our cab ride was only 10 minutes long, we noticed a remarkable difference between Taba, Egypt and Eilot, Israel. Eilot was a bustling, yet clean beach resort area. It had very modern looking buildings, and seemed to represent an example of Israeli success. It couldn't have been more different than Egypt. Hopefully, on my Israel trip in December, I'll be able to see more of the country. After quickly passing through Israel, we reached the Jordanian border and crossed over into the country where we would spent the next five days. We took a cab to our beach side resort in Aqaba, Jordan's Red Sea city.
This is a picture of where I spent my first night. We dubbed it, appropriately the "Chicken Coup." Obviously, our living arrangements for the first night weren't the most "resort-like" in the world, but it did the job nonetheless. However, the two minute walk to the beach made up for our little hut.
Within 10 minutes of arriving in Aqaba, we set out for the beautiful, secluded beach to get some much needed rest. The water was perfect, the sun was as high as the spirits in the group. We were excited to be in Jordan, and everything had worked out swimmingly thus far. The Red Sea is actually one of the premier scuba diving and snorkeling areas in the world. After swimming a ways out, you could admire the beautiful coral just under you in the water. I have never been in water with coral, so this was pretty special for me. Also, I swam out far enough to see the end of the reef, where the sea floor just seems to drop a hundred feet. At that point, I saw the most blue water I have ever seen. Imagine that artificial blue in the water at putt-putt courses, but put coral around it and make it naturally beautiful- that is what I swam in.
The guys: Hunter, myself, and Ike
Sunset at Aqaba
That night, we celebrated my 21st birthday. My group surprised me in the chicken coup with some drinks. We had a great time, and later that night, we went down to the beach again to watch the sunset. I cut my foot on some coral, and a girl from our group accidentally stepped on a sea urchin. Injuries aside, Aqaba was a great start to a fantastic trip, and I couldn't have been happier to spend my birthday there amongst some good friends.
Stay tuned for part II: Wadi Musa and Petra