Friday, February 16, 2007

Day 16. Comes to a close - Madaba.

From Mount Nebo, we continued north on the Kings Highway, eventually arriving into Madaba. A seemingly quiet town, Madaba was a good place to unwind after a hectic day of travel.

Compared to the other places we had stayed at along the way, the hotel in Madaba felt like a 5 star hotel to us - Lei and had large room with cable TV (with English channels) and a hair dryer which came in handy for both Lei and I. ....and best of all, there were three beds - one to pile our stuff on, one right next to the window and the other right next to a full length radiator. Take a guess who took which bed to sleep in!

The first thing on my to-do list was to hop into the shower. I finally was able to wash off the Dead Sea minerals that had encrusted my hair. I then spent the next hour or so using the hair dryer to try and dry off my cast - I think I only managed work through the first few layers or so but thankfully, it felt much lighter as the water dried off. Lei was ecstatic that she could actually have dry hair minutes after stepping out of the shower. As usual, we did some laundry, hanging it up to dry wherever we could find a place to hook the clothes hangers onto.

At the agreed upon time, we met up with the group in the lobby. It was Kirsten's last night in Jordan - she would be leaving around lunchtime the next day - so we all decided that we would have our final group dinner that night. Following Daniel out of the hotel, we were all in good spirits though very sad at the thought that Kirsten was leaving and that we would all soon follow. On the way to the restaurant, Daniel gave us a quick orientation tour (ATMs, sights to see, places to shop, eat, etc.) so we would have an idea of where to return to the next the day. He then led us to a restaurant named Haret Jdoudna. After days of dining in small local restaurants and cafes, Haret Jdoudna felt like a 5 star dining establishment! The restaurant is housed in an old building on a small side street in Madaba. Daniel had reserved a table for us in the covered courtyard - with the low lighting, it felt like we were eating outdoors.



Everything on the menu sounded so yummy but I finally settled on kubbeh (cracked wheat, stuffed with meat & pine nuts) for my appetizer and chicken sawani (chicken roasted with potatoes and herbs) as my main meal. There was so much food and it was so delicious! I ate as much as I could and if it was possible, would have taken the leftovers with me as it was a shame to leave any bit of it behind!

As we waited for the food to arrive, everyone in the group took their turns to sign my cast. Thanks to Lei for buying the magic marker!
Psst. If you want to hear Lei laugh, remind her of this story. I had tried to dry the cast so that it could be easily signed but it was still wet in some spots so every now and again, the tip of the marker would get glomped up with plaster. Most people were just wiping off the plaster with a napkin and they were okay. But not Lei. When it came to Lei's turn to sign, she wiped the tip of the pen on the napkin but the ink was still not flowing. I told her to shake the pen. Unfortunately, I forgot to use the word "gently" before "shake"so she used the full force of her right hand and arm to shake the pen up and down, which forced ink to leak out all over the fingers on her right hand. The ink still wasn't flowing very well so I then told her to shake "gently...., gently" but it was too late. Blue ink dots were all over the tablecloth, parts of my shirt - sleeve, collar, back - and God knows what else. We laughed so hard at what had happened, we nearly cried. My blue "polka dot"shirt is another souvenir that will remind me of the good times we had together on this trip!!
I had hoped to save the cast when I got back but that was not to be. Thankfully, Lei captured a photo of the signed cast before we left Jordan.



After eating dinner, the group relaxed to the strains of live Arabic music, sheesha and cups of Turkish coffee and mint tea.

We then slowly meandered our way back to the hotel, stopping at bakeries to check out the goods though everyone was so stuffed, no one bought anything.

It had been another memorable day but for the first time, I had difficulty falling asleep. I found myself staying awake to recall all the wonderful experiences that I had had on this trip.