We went to the Sheik’s home for dinner that was amazing. We ate on his deck and were joined by a Bedouin candidate for Jordan’s legislature. We returned to our hotel and went to sleep. The next morning, we packed all of our belongings and headed to the university in the South to meet the President. We had three lectures; including an interesting lecture comparing Jordanian literature to English literature. We were treated to lunch by their culinary program and sat in on a English instruction lecture for first to third grade teachers. We loaded into the bus and traveled on to Wadi Rum.

In Wadi Rum, we loaded into the back of s-10 Toyota trucks and 4×4’s and sped through the desert. We drove past natural rock bridges, climbed sand dunes, and finally arrived in the middle at our Bedouin campsite where we watched the most amazing sunset I have ever seen. We were treated to Bedouin tea and watched the stars until we fell asleep.

We woke up in our tents and loaded in our bus to travel to Ma’an. In Ma’an, we had a meeting with the superintendent of the Southern portion of Jordan’s schools. Ma’an is one of the most conservative sections of Jordan where women are in full dress. Ma’an is only 30 km’s from Saudi Arabia and contains one of the major rest stops for people completing a pilgrimage to Mecca. There is also one of the major Shi’ite historical sites outside of town. We engaged in discussion with the superintendent and some of his teachers about Jordan’s education system and then packed back into the bus to return to Wadi Rum.

When we went back to Wadi Rum, it was too hot to do anything so I did my laundry and laid it on a rock to dry. By the time I was done washing my laundry, the first shirt I had washed was already dry. We waited until 4 and then loaded back up into the 4×4’s to explore Wadi Rum. We visited a mountain that contained Nabatean writings and pictures. We continued on our journey until our driver did not pay attention and hit the 4×4 in front of us at about 20 miles an hour. Luckily, everyone was all right. Another 4×4 got stuck in the sand, so we had to get it unstuck. We returned to the campsite and had supper. We were challenged to a friendly football (soccer) match, (US vs Jordan).Jordan won 4-1, but we beat them in a match of kickball. We were then treated to a lute player who sang and played traditional Bedouin music. We had to go to bed early because of the next day’s activities.

Today, we awoke at 5 am and traveled to the middle of the Wadi to enjoy a Hot Air Balloon ride. The balloon took about a half hour to blow up. Seven of us (including me) got to ride first for a half hour. Then we set down and let the other seven ride. The captain gave us tea and we loaded into a truck to get back to the camp because there were camels waiting for us. We enjoyed an hour camel ride in Wadi Rum, loaded into the bus and took the road to Aqaba. In Aqaba we loaded onto a boat and got dressed in snorkeling gear. The water was crystal clear and there was no wind (perfect for snorkeling). We anchored near a coral reef which was between 15 and 20 feet down and snorkeled. It was like entering another world, schools of angel fish, puffer fish, long fish that looked like neon eels, and a wide variety of others. We took a break and grilled on the boat for lunch. After lunch, we returned to the coral reef. After an afternoon of snorkeling, we loaded and went to our hotel. As we were checking in, the bell boy ran over one of our supervisors with the luggage cart. He and one of our soccer casualties are going to the doctor to be checked out. Tonight we are having dinner, and then going to an Internet café so I cam post this blog. Tomorrow, we return to Amman where I should have normal Internet for the remainder of the trip.

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