The roof top of The Petra Hotel in Aqaba, Jordan features a unique view. To the south, Saudi Arabia, to the west and across the Red Sea, the Egyptian Sinai region, and, to the north, Israel. In other words, a lot of news making geography. For CAD$2/night we mingled and slept on the roof of the old hotel, across the road from what was declared to be the best nuts in the Middle East. That is, there was a line up of bulk food stores that only featured nuts in baskets. Most famous were the BBQ'd cashew nuts. They were VERY good, and lived up to the reputation. The aroma of the stores wafted up to the roof, keeping us hungry through the night.
Being Jordan's only access to the Sea, a lot of industry flows through Aqaba's ports. To contradict that, just outside of town are a slew of beaches and One-Billion dollar resorts. We went down to the water in town and came upon a local beach. It definitely wasn't the type of place to be having a Beach Blanket Bango. Very traditional and sombre, and the gloom of the tankers didn't make the sea too appealing for swimming. It was hard to believe that just down the road was a community of world class resorts.
On this day in particular, we had some bad luck with our camera. This would be the first of three disasters involving our precious Canon G9. Our pride and joy accidentally got knocked of the truck and landed with a crack on the road. This was only one month into our journey. From that point on it refused to work, and it wasn't until weeks later when we were in Istanbul that we were able to get it back in working order. Fortunately, we did have a back-up 'old faithful' Canon Powershot, and, one of the travelers on tour with us had a Canon G8 as his back up. so we were covered for the rest of Egypt. This still didn't take away the sting of breaking the one thing we purchased with the donations from our engagement party. It was one of those times were we said, "Well, at least we are safe and have our health," when really, who could care less. OUR FUCKING CAMERA BROKE!!! "Well, there are people starving in Africa." Yeah, that's true. OUR FUCKING CAMERA BROKE!!
So we mopped about the roof drinking imitation Whiskey and Vodka as the sun set over the Red Sea and Sinai. As darkness fell, locals began to come outdoors in droves and piled into pick up trucks. They filled the street, cheering and celebrating. Driving up and down the main drag. What were they cheering about? No clue. Perhaps it was a soccer match that ended well for the Aqaba side. In any event, it was nice background noise. It would have been nice to join in, but, alas, our camera was broken, and our trip therefore ruined (sense sarcasm, but that was how we felt). We weren't going to move for much.
Except, just as the bottle of vodka was being replaced for another, and I sat comfy on my foam ground sheet, head against the wall; an explosion went off behind me! The girls screamed and the guys ducked down under their sleeping bags. Another went off. BOOM! BOOM! POW! Vision of BBC news headlines, "Canadians killed in Cross-border Crossfire" went through my head. The explosions continued. They were right beside us. It's almost as if they're being fired from the street below and up at us. I may be giving too much away in my post titles, but, suffice it to say, the locals were letting off fireworks from the tailgates of their trucks. This would surly not be tolerated by the Canadian Safety First Alliance. Embarrassed, the dozen or so foreigners that were packed onto the roof, composed themselves, gingerly stood and went over to the ledge. We watched as fireworks of gold, silver, green and red all went of before our eyes. It was incredibly, peaceful.
We found out the next day that the locals were celebrating a decision made by their Royal Family. They were proud of their leaders. What a concept.
This was also the beginning of the week where I took 48 shits in 7 days. Couldn't have anything to do with the BBQ cashews and old swill vodka mixers. Nah. Oh well, at least we're safe. OUR FUCKING CAMERA BROKE!!