Having basically done bugger all since returning from The Dead Sea a day and a half before I thought I should do something on my final day. I’d wanted to do a Desert Castle trip with the hostel but I’d have had to pay for all four seats in the taxi as it was low season and there wasn’t enough demand for such a tour.
My heart wasn’t really in it but I set off by taxi, bus, bus and bus to see Qasr Al Azray on the much under-used east side of Jordan. It was only 3.60JD for all that and all went smoothly but was it worth the effort? Undoubtedly not but thats not the point as, for me, travelling is not just about seeing the sights and attractions but also about getting to and from places (as opposed to the tour bus style of travel).
The driver of the final bus actually spoke a bit of English and dropped me off right outside the castle where Lawrence was based in 1917-18 during the Arab Revolt against the Turks. Very little remained of a once great fort with the highlight (?) being a huge concrete door made of a single slab of basalt which he described as shutting with a clang and crash that made the west wall of the castle tremble.
I think I was done after about 15-20 minutes and then had the nervous wait for a bus by the side of the road in the middle of the desert. The first two drove by me for some reason but the third one stopped and I was on my way back to Zaqer for my transit. At that time I was just contemplating going back to the hostel to chill before my night time flight. For some reason though I decided I may as well go and explore another castle as the words “Its now or never” echoed in my mind. Every time the driver slowed to stop I got a bit nervous as I thought he might just tell me that its over there in that direction or something………and that is basically what happened!
I had to walk up a hill to a building site in the middle of nowhere. I was very under-whelmed but it was ultimately a quite rewarding experience as there was a friendly guy there who let me inside to see the remains and showed me around whilst chatting. No shelter from the scorching sun as I waited roadside for a bus which to my relief came within 10 minutes or so.
The castles were ultimately disappointing but I did get to bring my time in Jordan to a positive end thanks to the time, generosity and kindness of the locals who always did their best to point me in the direction of the right bus or rallied around to find an English speaker. A lot of cr*p is no doubt written about people in the middle-east and while I’m sure theres no smoke without fire the Jordanian people left a last impression on me.