We awoke to our second day in Aqaba with big plans to go snorkeling. Kate left earlier than us to make another attempt at scuba.. she had been having some ear problems that screwed up her dive the day before, but thankfully the second attempt was a success! While she was off in the briny deep, Zach, B and I took our time eating breakfast and getting ready and then caught a cab to meet Kate up at the sister resort of the one we were staying at, which is further out from the city center and therefore much better for diving and other such snorkel sports.
The other location of the resort was much, much bigger and had more pools and a much larger beach… and thankfully since we were staying at the other one, we had full reign. It was a few hours before the next boat was going out for snorkeling, so we killed time by playing in all of the various (awesome) ((unheated)) swimming pools. Thanks to our thick midwestern blood we could handle the chill, though the few other people we saw around all looked at us like we were insane.
Check out this intense waterslide action:
Hahahaha… eh, it was fun none the less. The resort itself was even more beautiful and tropical than the place we were staying at, and since we were there on Sunday, which is Monday in the Arab world, we once again had a gigantic resort practically to ourselves.
We then all went to get ready for my (and Branden’s) first ever snorkeling experience, while Kate got ready to do another dive. The water is pretty warm there, but we wore light wetsuits just so that we wouldn’t get chilly being in the water for an hour. They also help with buoyancy, not that it’s particularly necessary in the Red Sea, which is not as salty as the Dead Sea but is none the less pretty damn salty and therefore easy to float in.
While you can apparently dive by walking right in from the beach, we took a boat about 5-10 minutes to get closer to some sweet coral reefs that were along the shore. There was also apparently a sunken tank somewhere in the area where we were, but damned if we could find it.
Snorkeling was totally amazing. The water is incredibly clear, so the visibility is great. There was a variety of different types of coral, from the big brainy looking ones to smaller, swishy ones. We got to see lionfish and clownfish and sea urchins and a bunch of things I have no idea what they were but were all gorgeous. I managed to only suck a serious amount of seawater in to my snorkel once, so I’ll consider that a win.
After we all emerged from the briny deep, we got a nosh at the resort and then caught a shuttle back in to the city and our hotel. Once we got cleaned up, Zach, Kate and I went out on a little shopping adventure.. we were still trying to find a damn Jordan soccer scarf, which was a bust, but we did find a cool shop for a non profit (http://www.johud.org.jo/) that had all crafts handmade by Jordanian women that we patronized heavily.
After our shopping excursion, we collected Branden and headed to the Aqaba outlet of Wings N’ Stuff since they advertised that they played NFL games and it was time for the Packer game and we had been waiting all day for Sunday night. When we got there they were playing a godawful Steelers/Browns game and I think we traumatized the bar staff with the intensity which we begged them to put on the Packers. Turns out their satellite package only gets games broadcast on CBS, so we had to settle for what football we could get. The staff was soon laughing at us because they knew it wasn’t the game we came to watch but we were still yelling and cheering.
(Not pictured: yelling and cheering)
I determined that the NFL has a video streaming service for anyone who has an IP address outside the US and that service had a free one-week trial, so around halftime we returned to the hotel and watched the remainder of the game from the comfort of our hotel room. It was particularly trippy because we had the option to watch the Packers local stream, so we were sitting in the Middle East watching commercials for, like, Menards, with a warm sea breeze blowing in the open windows in the middle of November. It was glorious… and the Packers lost, which was even more glorious (even if I was a little worried we’d get a visit from management from all the yelling). Best vacation ever.
And so, our last day relaxing in Aqaba came to a close and we headed off to bed to rest up for our voyage the next morning into Wadi Rum to go sleep in the desert for a few nights.