The Little Known Mountains of Jordan
Trip Start Jan 14, 2008
141Trip End Jan 13, 2009
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Number one on our list here was the people. This is a tiny town, pretty much abandoned, except for the few families that scrape out a living tending arid olive and pomegranate orchards or cater to tourists. Probably because of this, they are especially friendly and welcoming. We felt like long lost friends of most of the people we met. We even wound up attending a party in our guest house with about thirty Jordanian men, some tourists, and a local family where we drank tea and danced to a drummer and singer-lute combo
Chief among our friends here was Jaban. Jaban wound up being our guide for an excellent hiking/scrambling trip later in the day. We left with two super nice Italian lads and Jaban at about mid-day. The mountains are high enough, and cool enough, that this was possible, although not exactly comfortable. Jaban led us on tiny goat paths, down river beds, scrambling down cliff faces, and across the landscape down down down to a distant farm in the bottom of the valley. Along the way we got a good lesson on local history and flora/fauna. We also were shown eerie old tombs which consisted of small caves complete with skulls and bones. He showed us how the ancients stored water and made signs pointing to their caches. And he introduced us to pottery shard hunting - which was quite easy as the hillsides were full of the stuff including some as old as Roman times. Modern technology allowed us to skip the very last brutally hot climb by calling for our hotel owner to come down and get us in the 4wd with a very interesting drive back to town.
The Dana Hotel guest house was the other star of our stay here. The staff was amazing. Our room small, cute, and cool. There was a big chill out area, a shady courtyard, and a roof deck complete with hammock and views of the mud walled town and the valley. The food was also excellent.
Dana doesn't have the ruins of Petra nor the reputation of Wadi Rum but it was a great and low-key stop for us. It is hard to say why we liked it so much, but everyone we met who had been there also fell under its subtle spell.