The Journey to Amman
So, I spent days and days packing and repacking. I removed items of clothing that I really wanted to take and tried to reconfigure everything. I bought those bags that you pack and suck the air out to make more room. I finally got it to a place where we were both tightly packed into one checked bag each and was worried about how to get the stuff we might purchase home. I know I won't be able to fit a baby camel in there but I was assuming I would buy lovely scarves, maybe some clothing, some lovely tiles etc.
Then the texts started to come from Shack. Can you bring a whack of Maalox (WTF), a king can of Longbow beer... The last straw was the 10 lbs of text books The Kid plopped on the table that need to come because he has to do two weeks worth of work while we are away.
I was barely able to fit in my own panties at this point. I was on the streetcar and went to the airline on my phone to check the baggage restrictions one last time when I noticed something in teeny, tiny writing that they clearly don't want you to see:
If the flight originates in North America and goes to THE MIDDLE EAST or ASIA YOU CHECK TWO BAGS FOR FREE.
I called to make sure and I checked all three airlines we will be using in combination, going and coming and they all say the same thing.
We each get two bags!
I have never been so excited in my life.
Suddenly, the white linen pants were back in the game! Silver flat sandals? Pentax camera?Smart, lightweight silky blazer?
Hey kid, bring BOTH pairs of jeans and throw in your black dress shirt and vintage vest while you're at it!
In the golden, olden days, when carry on bags were the size of an actual small suitcase, we managed with carryon only. We did do 10 days in Portugal and all I used was this kid's suitcase, the only bag that fit the new, tiny requirements because it was June and we were renting apartments with laundry the whole time and so we all packed for four days.
The problem with Jordan is that although it is the safest, probably the most liberal Middle Eastern country you can visit, you still must be respectful so that means covering arms and shoulders, long dresses and pants unless we are at the pool and you just can't fit two weeks worth of clothing in that tiny skull bag, regardless of how adorable it is. Add to that, four days in Amman, where it's jacket and jeans weather and then ten days in Aqaba where it's 30C during the day but sweater weather at night and rugged outdoorsy trips to the Wadi Rum and Petra and a girl needs two damned bags.
Saturday Nov 15 - D Day
If you want to be able to watch movies that you have downloaded yourself or burned from your own dvds on your ipad, you have to jump through a few hoops. It took me about 5 hrs to figure this out so that you won't have to waste your own, valuable time.
You don't really have to convert to play in VLC, in theory, but everyone says you should convert the file to .mp4, so that is what I do. You can use a separate app for that but since most of my downloaded movie files are done through Vuze, I will show you this method:
If you downloaded using Vuze (my preferred app and I have always just used the free version), open it up. Go to your library and just drag the downloaded file over onto the itunes folder that is on the left side menu of your Vuze app, under device playback. This will convert the file to MP4 and put it in your home movie file in itunes. This is great for syncing with your ipad so you can go watch the movie in bed but you are just streaming the file over wifi. Not useful if you want to watch the movie at hour 7 on the airplane.
If you don't have it already, you will need to download VLC viewer onto your ipad and Dropbox on both your computer and your ipad.
Next, find the actual file on your hard drive and drag the converted movie file into your drop box. Hint - if you just move the file, it will move the physical file, not a copy and you will no longer have it on your computer harddrive. If you want to keep the movie on your computer as well, you must duplicate the file first and drag the copy to dropbox.
After it's done uploading in dropbox, open VLC on your ipad and click on the little orange and white road cone icon. Go to dropbox on the left hand side and open. It will show you all the files in your dropbox, click on your movie file and it will ask if you want to download and you say, of course, HELL YES.
It will take a couple of minutes because decent quality movie files are large (i try to keep them under 2G) but once it downloads, it's now contained in your VLC and you can watch it anywhere, anytime.
Sunday Nov 16. I think.
It's only 7pm Amman time and The Kid is already out cold. We left Toronto at 6pm and arrived here at 3pm Amman so that means we're up all night and our bodies thought it was 8am just like it thinks it's noon right now. The trip itself could not have been smoother. A Lufthansa plane operated by Austrians is a very smooth way to go. No glitches, delays, hold ups or drama, no line ups and our luggage was all there on the carousel waiting for us when we got here. It was almost eerie.
The only odd thing that made both of us give each other a " holy shit we are not in Kansas anymore" was when the seatbelt light came on and an announcement was made the the Israeli government was now demanding that all passengers on flights landing in Jordon must remain belted into their seats for the final 30 minutes before landing or when they are flying over Israel. Ruh Roh
We are staying a cute little guest house in the heart of the old town called The Boutique Hotel. We made arrangements with them for a driver to pick us up at the airport and, sure enough, a lovely man was waiting for us with a sign and a shiny, new Honda. We liked him so much that we hired him to pick us up tomorrow morning to take us to Jerash and then back to the city to tour the citadel, the roman coliseum and the old town proper.
The only thing we had the energy for once we got checked in was running out to buy a local SIM card for my jail broken iPhone and eat. We were told to try out Hashem, an open air vegetarian place that appears to only make the silkiest hummus, an oily, spicy mashed bean thing and falafel which was okay with me because it was exactly what we needed. They served us each a steaming glass of strong, sweet tea with fresh mint that could seduce me away from coffee and We feasted until we were stuffed for 4JD ($6)
Oh, speaking of coffee, we stopped at a western union to change money and a man came and handed us two little plastic cups full of dark coffee with cardamom. Just came and handed them in through the car window. Get out.
I can't add links or format on my iPad so until I get to Aqaba and Shack's laptop, we are roughing it on The Yum Yum Factor. I will come back and edit and add links etc later on.