Anne and I were pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the departure gate to meet the tour group for our flight to Amman, when we saw her sister Julie and friends sitting at a table right next to us when we sat down for breakfast. It was a happy reunion and after meeting everyone it was soon time for our flight. The plane was not full so Anne was able to secure a four seat section and put her swollen ankle up for the duration of the flight. Watching the country from the air was so interesting because it isn’ just sandy desert like the Sahara.
When we arrived in Amman we were met by our immigration guide who asked for our passports to get our visas and then we were all shepherded through in single file. I have to say I felt like a primary school kid again but it was certainly trouble free. From here we were met by a bus and then taken to our hotel, the Larsa, which is in the suburbs. Everyone freshened up and then a few of us went for a walk around the block. On the way back we found a massage place just up the road from the hotel and Julie went in to ask about the services. Anne and I decided we would have one too but as we were going to a local parish church later in the afternoon for Mass we would have to go after dinner. It was Ramadan so the spa was not open again until 9.00 pm and closed at 1.00am in the early morning! We decided it would be good to have one before going to bed so we booked for 9.00.
There are 27 pilgrims on the tour and it was a challenge to remember everyone’s name but everyone was friendly. The others were all tired after their long flight from Australia. We visited a rather lovely church where we were all welcomed warmly by the priest. He had a marvellous voice and a bold personality. Randa our tour leader told us that though Christianity is tolerated its followers are not growing here because they don’t have large families like the Muslims so it is difficult for the churches here.The grotto at the church.
On our return to the hotel we had a buffet dinner with lots of salad and delicious dips which Anne and I relished after our recent travels. While everyone went to bed early Anne and I trundled up the street for our massage. What a hoot it turned out to be. On our arrival we were given blue paper bloomers and a paper bandeau bra( of sorts). Then we were asked to shower then get in the hot jacuzzi. Except, the water was scaldingly hot and we could barely stick a toe in let alone our bodies! The girls brought a big hose with cold water which we alternated on our feet but it was taking too long to cool so we were told to go to the sauna for a few minutes, then into the steam room. While in the sauna we were given a red drink, kakdi ( hibiscus tea) which looked like a dark red wine. No OH&S here because it was served in glass! I thought it was grape juice but I have been assured it was hibiscus tea.
Next we returned to the still hot jacuzzi and managed to immerse ourselves. We were being properly sterilised! When we could stand it no longer we entered the cool pool. We were so hot it was a relief. We were given the red drink again and in glass again. Now we thought it must be time for our massage. We found our towels and went to dry off but no, we had not washed with the soap and loofah ( it looked like a bleached coconut)! We were sent back to wash again. By now Anne and I were in mild hysterics because we were a sight to behold in our wet bloomers and not too generous paper bandeau bra. Finally we were deemed clean and then led to a marble counter with a thin towel draped across; no pillows or holes for your head. Soon we were slicked with oil and the massage began in earnest. This went on for an hour and was delicious. We were pummeled and stretched and smoothed. Even our heads were massaged. By the time they were finished with us we were relaxed, slippery, greasy haired blobs.
It took me two days to get the oil out of my hair but nary a stiff bone or muscle was found in our bodies the next day. It ended up being two hours for A$50 each. I would do that every week if I could! Needless to say we slept like logs and were very grateful no photos could be taken!
Note the trees planted on the footpath. The foot paths were very uneven and cracked so for the sight challenged it must be a nightmare and where the trees are it is nearly impossible to walk.
Some of the houses nearby and the baker cooking flat bread at the hotel.