Traveling within Jordan is almost never straightforward

Aaron/ January 21, 2018/ Middle East/ 0 comments

Murphy’s law at play again as I attempted to get from Aqaba to Dana. After checking with locals (no written schedules) around the bus station in Aqaba on the bus timings to Tafilah the day before (and feeling confident of catching the 7.30am bus at 7.00am), I arrived at the bus station on a chilly Friday morning at 7.00am to find out from everyone around that the only bus to Tafilah for the day had left half an hour earlier.

 *For details on how to get from Aqaba to Dana, please check it out here.

 

Friday was the key word, as bus services ran few and far between (if any) on Fridays in Jordan. The other thing about bus/minibus services in Jordan, is that they will leave when the bus is full, and schedules are almost irrelevant. If there is one seat left in the minibus for the next 2 hours, you will still need to wait for that seat to be filled (or pay for it). If the driver turns up for work at whichever time and immediately it is full, the bus leaves. And if it happens to be a Friday, you will be left at the bus station. Trying to salvage the situation, I found a bus to Ma’an (halfway between Aqaba and Dana) that had yet to leave, and hopped on.

 

Lots of thoughts ran through my mind on this unexpected detour to Ma’an. Without realising it, the bus had reached the Ma’an bus station. I sat under a big tree at the bus station with couple of old men who were smoking stick after stick, till a taxi driver gestured me over to his taxi. I was stunned for awhile till I realised that one of the guys on the bus had helped me to find a driver after learning of my predicament. 25JD was a little expensive for a backpacker and I was initially reluctant. But as there were no more buses from Ma’an to Tafilah that day (and my bargaining skills were no match for a seasoned taxi driver), I relented.

 

Before we left the driver bought me a tea and shared a local pastry, which got me thinking if I had indeed paid him too much. Anyway, there wasn’t much I could do by then but to trust him, and he did look like a nice person, so I felt at ease in no time. He kept me entertained with friendly banter, snacks and even a peach he pulled out from nowhere and washed with both hands out of the window while maintaining speed on the highway.

 

As it turns out, inter city taxi rides aren’t so straightforward, and he stopped a couple of times to pick up and drop off people along the highway. That hour ride felt like a road trip with ever changing company, making it a whole lot more fun. Nothing I would have expected, but all in a day’s work in getting off the beaten path.

 

By the time we reached the fork in the road, one towards Tafilah, the other down to Dana Village, I was the only one left. The driver went slightly further ahead, and stopped. It was jaw-dropping – a majestic view of Wadi Dana, opening out into Wadi Araba, the Jordan Rift Valley. After days in the desert this view from the top of the valley was mind-blowing. I couldn’t ask for a better opening to the next leg of my adventures down in Wadi Dana, or a better ending to this little adventure getting from Aqaba to Dana. The driver got me to the village, made sure I was in safe hands with the guesthouse I had booked, and as all stories end, said goodbye. Another chapter closed, and a new one begins!

 

*For details on how to get from Aqaba to Dana, please check it out here.

The view from the highway towards Tafilah, not far from the turnoff to Dana Village. Wadi Dana is the valley heading straight, Wadi Araba the huge open valley at the end of Wadi Dana, and Dana Village the little houses on the middle left part.

The view from the highway towards Tafilah, not far from the turnoff to Dana Village. Wadi Dana is the valley heading straight, Wadi Araba the huge open valley at the end of Wadi Dana, and Dana Village the little houses on the middle left part.

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