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Dec Holiday - Day Four

Sat, 18th Dec 2010.

We woke up late today and rushed to get to Bfast by 6.30pm. As we are leaving Jerusalem back to Amman, Jordan today, we also had to pack our luggage!

Thankfully, we only brought 1 bag. But the HORROR is that Tufeil's 3 day diaper supply (12pcs) is finished! Cause he pooped like 3 times a day and then there were two times when he didn't poop but i still changed his diaper. So he was only down to the last piece to wear that morning.

So after breakfast, we went to the pharmacy across the street to buy one. They only have Pampers Dry Active brand and no small packet but we totally had no choice! It was also a rip off and we paid in USD.

Our 3 star hotel was actually quite decent.




The street towards the pharmacy

OF course Tufeil couldn't help but run towards some shop's fountain!

He wore two pants, two shirts and that jacket.



What can I say, it's really WISE we didn't wait any longer and bought the diaper straight away. As we were just about to move off, i sensed something was wrong and he made a deposit!!! We had to hold the bus and everybody in it to go back to the hotel and wash! Jeez



It was 9am when we finally started back towards Amman border. On the way, we stopped by 3 places:




  1. The point of sea level,

  2. A masjid in the middle of the desert with tomb of Nabi Musa, and

  3. Jericho - the lowest city in the world.



The sea level sign cut off to the left.



Now that was my first time seeing a real life camel!! I was totalyl amazed by its sheer size! I really really really wanted to ride it but that camel guy, he said it's bad for the baby. Though I didn't quite catch what exactly he was referring to, the camel or the sun, I got put off by him. Besides, it was just a short stop anyways.


And all this mountain ranges start from BELOW the sea level



A short drive later, we arrived at the mosque


Maqam Nabi Musa.


It was narrated that Propher Muhd s.a.w on his isra' journey towards Al-Aqsa mosque, off a small dirt road, saw someone praying over his own tomb and was told that is Nabi Musa. And here it is.


By now, I was thinking that all mosques and tombs look the same. And more disappointingly, not all tombs are actually real grave where the bodies rest. PLUS, I don't really know what to do, what to say or what to feel there. Remorse? Appreciative? Love? what? When Uncle Sharif read out all those prayers, I repeated after him inwardly without raised hands because I wasn't sure if this could be considered obsession and in any way lead us astray of our one god. I understood the initial doa in Arabic as to give peace and prayer to so and so... but the rest... I dont know. What added to my confusion was my mum's reluctance /nonchalance to come near the maqams.


So mainly, I only absorbed the surrounding atmosphere.


The masjid is situated in the middle of the desert. Now I can truly say I've been to the desert. and we saw a herd of camels and goats.


Tufeil finally woke up and experienced his first face to face encounter with one of his favourite animal - The Jamal.

His face was full of flies




This is just like... Whoaw.


I wished we had time to go down and talk to the shepherds.



Now Jericho.


Jericho is a popular winter getaway destination among the locals. Due to the low lying position, it is not as cold as the rest of the country.



video


A video of us in the bus arriving at a particular Sycamore tree


This tree was where a short guy climbed up some 2000 years ago just to watch Nabi Isa passed by.


It irritates me that I couldn't .. i dont know... savour? appreciate? the history that took place there. Maybe im just not passionate about it. Sorry. Don't get me wrong... i LOVE the place, the people and everything. the now is what matters lor.


Afterwards, we reach the immigration checkpoint. Although leaving custom is not as stringent as entry, we were quite nervous. Esply when they called me in to the office. Oh my god what did i do?! The guide told me its ok just follow what the officer said. They talked something in donno what language, then asked for Tufeil's passport. I prayed hard T won't get cranky being held down to one place and upset the officers. Then the guide left the room and told me to just wait.


About 4 min later, letting T play with my passport in order to keep him entertained, she just returned the passport and off we go.


Outside, the guide distributed tickets and everyone was to get one except me. But I said thats impossible bcos even T has one. Guide insisted I don't need until Boss left with one more ticket after handing out to everybody else.


Aiyooo this guide I tell ya... We were quite relieved to say goodbye to him. He knows how to work the crowd, but after awhile, it kinda got old and overbearing. And he brought us to a lot of souvenir shops that totally bored me senseless. Ok im not being fair, he's just trying to boost his economy and some of the group did like shopping.


Anyway, Alhamdulillah everything was in order and we met with the bus we first took in Amman. having spent 3 days travelling in luxurious bus, we suddenly found this one a bit cramped, esply for T.


Our Jordanian guide couldn't be more opp than the previous one. He was cool, calm and collected w monotonous voice and not outwardly caring / eager. when he spoke he didnt even look at us. But to tell you the truth, I gave my thanks to Allah for this guide. LOL.


He told us that because we were a bit set back on time, they were getting a short cut to our first destination. and in about 30min, we reached THE DEAD SEA!!!!!


Amman beach Tourism Resort

A sign of caution
It was funny how we alighted the bus with our jackets only to find people walking around in SHORTS! It was not very cold and the sun was blazing and people were swimming...


BUT FIRST! LUNCH! YAYYYY I love this guide now that he fed us promptly at 12nn! T was still asleep so I was happily looking at the buffet spread. I told the boss, "Now THIS is lunch!"


YUMMYYYYYY!!!!



Pasta and sauce, so many different veges


and salads


4 types of desserts that I didn't dare to sample.
I heard they are very extremely sweet.


Only afterwards did I see there was Hummus! My favourite!! T woke up and took to the hummus immediately! From then on, both of us ate hummus every meal of every day! Shiok or what! T even fed himself lor... easier for me. haha


Time to get to the beach! It was a longggg walk down...


eh? where's the salt? Can't see them on this beach.


T was rearing to go and I kept telling him wait for Atok only to find out later that he's not going in cause he was wearing boots. Im not getting myself wet either. I didn't bring any extra set of clothes for T too. I felt quite sad but it would be one hell of a job to rinse off this water. So we walked away from the beach. Ayah entertained T while me and Mum checked out the stores. I bought some Dead sea products: Body scrube and mud shampoo for USD 44. Nice.


T was asleep when we arrived at this masjid that housed three sahabat's maqams. Ayah volunteered to take T while I explored inside.


First is sahabat Ja'far bin Abi Talib. there was a Ta'rif (introduction?/Background?) of this sahabat in Arabic. I spent like 10 minutes reading it but could only make out that he is Rasulullah's cousin and that he went to a war in Muktah. But after everybody gathered, the resident guide there managed to explain in halting english that he was the one who held the Islam flag in that war and hung on tight to it even with both arms slashed!


2nd sahabat is Zaid bin Harith. If I understood correctly, he became rasul's Son in Law. that's all I could figure,


We gave the third one a miss as we were pressing for time. We hurried to that souvenir shop to collect the rest of our luggaged that we stored there. and then..


Onwards to our hotel. We reached at 6pm. was totally blown away when we saw our rooms!!



Thats the door. The full lengthed mirror is the sliding door of the wardrobe.

It was almost too high for us to hang our jackets!
Opp the wardrobe are the beds...
Ahem

We joined the single beds as usual.

TV, Fridge and dresser.



Bathroom!!!!


Larsa hotel is a 3 star hotel but it looks soooooooooooo nice. So glad our room was slightly roomier than some of the other's so t could run around for a bit. There was a note to say that we could call reception for complimentary toothbrush or shaving cream should we need any. I called to ask for toothbrush but they were closed!


we went down for dinner at 7.30pm and again the look is just... beautiful... Of course the battery on my iphone had to die on me!!! But its ok pictures of the hotel were taken the next morning. Stay tuned for that.


It was a real big shame that we were just staying for one night. A lot of us said they wouldn't mind staying another night there. the only downer was, they didn't have internet available =(
Also, they had aircon here and both T and I had to resort to nasal drop to ease our blocked nose and get some sleep.

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Dec Holiday - Day 3

Fri, 17th Dec 2010

Tufeil woke up at 6am. Meaning I had a somewhat good rest as well. That is just the right time to get ready for bfast at 7am.


It was a shocker when I saw the Breakfast is EXACTLY the same as the previous day. Oh Tufeil will love the sausages and cookie crisps but other than that, there's nothing else he eats. I tried sneaking in some bread or scrambled egg but sometimes when the mouthful portion's not balanced *wink* he'd notice.

Aft bfast, while waiting for the bus, Abang showed Tufeil how to "roll" the truck and NOT to throw!

Today, the guide promised us a longggggg drive ahead! It was a 2hr drive to Tel Aviv. That's fine, i thought, as T (and me) could catch up on some more sleep. And we were rewarded by a spectacular view of the beach!


Isn't this the Red Sea?

The city!


Tufeil still asleep


A sign in Hebrew.
We thought the script looks a cross between Hindi / Thai and Russian?

It was actually quite a hot day today. The Sun was blazing and the nearer we were to the sea, the less cold it got.


We stopped by Masjid Mahmoudi.


Towards the washroom / ablution area


Inside

The neighbouring shops were built on wakaf land. As a result, profit from their business goes back to the masjid. So the guide urged us to have a look.
And 2min walk later, we could see...

This Watch Tower.

It's a gift from one of the neighbouring ruler from a long time ago. Hahah I know I'm being very vague but the details escaped me!

After that relatively short stop, we drove on for another hour. We passed by the Jaffa port, Haifa port and somewhere we saw the whale statue to symbolise the place where Nabi Yunos was expelled from the belly of the whale to the beach there.
Atok entertaining T in the bus for awhile.

We've reached Akko!

This is how the roads and pavement looked like.


Just a picture in case I forget the name of the place where we were.


Masjid Al Jazzar I believe this is called.

I forgot what's the significance of this masjid. Sorry. But what was significant for ME was Tufeil actually followed the group in prayer. He managed about 1.75 rakaats before he finally called out for me.



video

Here's the video.
He managed about 1.75 rakaats before he called out for me and I had to turn the video immediately to acknowledge him before he started screaming. Afterwards, he again stood near the boys but rolled around on the carpet!


Outside, we managed to get a group kids photo but minus the eldest one.<

/div>
We were told that the bus was not here yet and we had to wait for it to come before proceeding to the next destination. Of course the group got restless and wandered around the shops. The way I see it, looks like the bus was late on purpose. haha. to help the economy of this town.


Tufeil insisted on this helicopter toy I think about USD 1?
Jangan tak tau... by the end of the day, one of the WHEELs was missing as a result of Tufeil's banging it on the floor! Then complained to me, "Rosak! Rosak" (spoilt! spoilt!) when the thing didn't ride smoothly. By the next day, the bell was gone but still he hung on to it taking it almost everywhere. Before we took off for home, we left it in the hotel and thankfully, he didn't ask for it!

It was 2pm and Tufeil was hungry. I've learnt my lesson and packed MORe sausages and other savory items so he wasn't THAT cranky but I sure was! It was another hour's drive before we reach a Lunch destination. It was a BAR Restaurant. Of course we know the guide wouldn't take us to a non-halal place but many of us were outraged by the venue because there were wines and sheesha that sorta place.

Tufeil was not interested in eating much. Rather, he kept going back to the Parrot's cage and the aquarium where we saw starfish and a mini blue lobster.

I didnt eat much either. There was not much meat involved today =( and after having had to change his diaper TWICE in that restaurant (amidst his mighty struggles), inhaling the smoke fumes, I've almost had it with that place!

The restaurant was somewhere down here.

And up we go to a....

CHURCH!

The pew
Stained glass


The place is beautiful. High ceilinged, colourful and bright bringing out the festive spirit and yet dim to impose some kind of authority feeling.

The boys, including T, were so excited playing with each other we got a few recorded msgs played overhead, "Silence in the church, please" much like in the library. It was embarassing! How do I tell T to shush?

And we were led down a small spiralling stairwell towards this place...

Mary's Grotto!

That's the cave where Mary was said to have stayed while Angel Gabriel were sent down to tell her she was with child.


This is my FIRST time being in a church. I can't say for the rest but this one sure is organised. To see the grotto, we can only walk in from one entrance and its a one way street to the exit.

It was maghrib when we left the building.

I remember hearing some bells at the time of maghrib too. Not sure what that was for or if perhaps it was from the synagogue?

Christmas decoration was in full swing

One of the souvenir shops


Halwa shop
You will notice i've chucked my jacket for the day cos it wasn't that much cold


Right after this shot, my mum's heel got run over by a pallet jack by a local. I had wanted to tell Mummy to move aside but I thought, "Oh the hell, he could wait." Apparently, he didnt! and Mum got a blister from it, I hope there's nothing more to it.


It was probably close to 7pm, by the time we got organised and gathered for the bus. And the guide asked if we wanted to go to one final place of interest, the town of Nabi Yunos. To my utter disappointment, everybody said yes. I was ready to surrender and called it a night!


So I stayed in the bus with sleeping T while they all went to pray maghrib and isya'. When they came back, it seemed that they've got an invitation back to the Imam's place out of gratitude of our visit. Now THAT's what I'm looking forward to THIS WHOLE TIME! Always as we passed by people's house, I tried to peer inside and see what their house looked like and how they lived. And now we finally got the chance!


Of course my hp had to die on me! So I try to describe it in words. His house was on the second floor of a 3 floor apartments. The tiles were stone/marble and we were told to keep our shoes on inside. A few large carpets graced the sitting area about the same size as a HDB's living + dining area. Two separate sitting arrangement so the men could sit one side, and the women the other. There was a sink outside of the washroom. I didn't get to see the rooms though.


It seemed that they entertained guests often. Cause as soon as we got there, they started pulling out plastic stackable chairs, sweets and drinks. We even got a basket each for souvenir!


Firstly, we started with recitation of the Qur'an by the Imam's youngest son, about 4-5years old? Then the Imam read another few verses and the Muazzin sang for us the talaal badrul song with many unfamiliar words. We only joined in the chorus haha. But it was sweet the whole experience. We feel sooo loved. They did too. They really appreciated us tourist coming to visit.

It was another 1.5hour journey back to the hotel! At 10.45pm, we were having DINNER! T was flat out at the sofa again. I didn't bother to eat either but since he stirred and woke up, I got him eating too.

Tonight is the last night of our stay in Jerusalem and we were to have an early start tomorrow. HUARGH!!! This trip has proven to be more tiring than a holiday ought to be!

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