Mar 12

Red Sea (Destination: Aqaba)

After days in the desert, we made our way by taxi from Wadi Rum to Aqaba for some pampering.

I had redeemed 20,000 Hilton points to stay in the 5-star DoubleTree Hotel for two nights.  The location was great – right in the center of the city. We experienced a first at this hotel – we had to go thru a metal detector each time we entered.  We seemed to set the detector off multiple times but they always waved us thru.  We checked in and got our warm cookies.

I inquired about beach access and they told me tickets to the private “The Beach Club” were included with the room, but the next bus didn’t depart for a couple hours.  So we walked around town, got a couple treats we hadn’t had after days in the desert and checked out the local’s beach.

Catching the right bus was confusing.  The bus driver took the tickets but we wondered if we needed them to get in at the beach.  Eventually we stopped at a couple other hotels and they picked up loads of Russians.  We learned that the Russians used to go to the Red Sea in Egypt but since they had experienced some terrorism, many of the Russians were now using Aqaba as their base.

The Beach Club at Tala Bay was beautiful, a nice pool, any drink or food you wanted.

The snorkeling was so-so but there were some very colorful sponges under the dock.

One afternoon of lounging was enough for me.  I was glad we’d be on a boat trip tomorrow.

At dinner time Cindy wanted a sit down meal and I just wanted a falafel sandwich.  I walked around and found an open place opposite the mosque just after their evening call to prayer.  An amazingly blue-eyed Jordanian young man made me his recommended sandwich and made it look fancy and I sat near the street with a view of the mosque.

The next day, a big red pick-up truck picked us up for our snorkeling trip off a yacht.  The ship was so great. There were only 10 passengers on this big boat.

We stopped at several great snorkeling stops.

And we had a very tasty lunch.

We went back to the hotel and had a swim in the infinity pool overlooking the Sea.

We took a walk around town in the evening and did a little shopping and had one more night at the Doubletree.  We enjoyed the luxury of Aqaba.

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