Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nothing to report in Jordan...

Jordanians work hard and protests have only been taking place on Fridays after prayer. We will see what happens tomorrow, the King, who is well liked has put up signs outlining areas for peaceful protests and is keeping the opposition outside the capitol, so I am interested as to what will happen.

I have been loving Apple technology by using FaceTime with Matt and Jennie. I love seeing Matt everyday and it makes being away easier. With Jennie I can check on her packing progress for the big move a block away.

There are no tanning beds and I am losing my tan:(. It is just horrifying, new tan plan when I get home. Also, three hours after my scheduled landing in the US, are family pictures at the Capitol. I am so excited. The photographer has amazing shots in her portfolio.

I will update on the events of tomorrow though I do not intend to leave my hotel room.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Princess Basma,,Jordan

Monday, March 28, 2011

Welcome to Jordan

I somehow get wrapped up in drama, but that is never my intention. I love quiet evenings at home with my husband and actually fancy a game of scrabble in our pjs to anything else. But alas, my life is not without its share of excitement. I was told on Thursday that I would be off to Jordan on Friday. Yup, plenty of notice to get my life back in order after being on vacation for a week. I of course prioritized all the items that I wanted to take care of over the next month, including sweeping the patio and getting ready for spring! I am also very comitted to being a one bagger, and did my best to put everything into one carry-on - but thanks to my friends at Turkish Air, no can do. I was over the weight limit for carry-ons. I have never had someone weight my carry-on before. How insane! So much for not taking full size shampoo with me and not worrying the entire trip about lost luggage. Thankfully no drama. Arriving in Jordan you can get your visa at the airport, in of course the local currency. But no worries there is a money change right there for you - how convenient. How can I make that my next business model. I have a captive audience who is not concerned with exchange rates and fees. I met my new driver who is from Jordan but his family cover over from Israel in the 40's. Because of this he cannot leave Jordan. So much for birth right citizenship - seriously USA, we should re-evaluate, no other countries do this. I degress... I was excited to spend 10 nights at the Marriott hotel. Finally, I will start accumulating hotel points to go with my much coveted frequent flier miles and status. (Matt will be able to see what luxury is all about come September!) I always get settled into my rooms, unpack, iron, hang, and take over the bathroom with all of my goodies. During my first day in the office, Sunday, I was told that the embassy was highly recommending that I move from the Marriott to another hotel because of security. The protests from the weekend, that had gotten a little out of control, were anticipated to continue on Sunday and the Marriott and my dreams of hotel points there went out the window. I have moved on to another hotel with a great rewards program, only problem is that I was going to start using the Marriott in Pakistsan to continue to grow this new membership. Oh well. Oh, and because most Jordanians have jobs, there will not be any more protests until Friday and probably Friday after prayers. The setting and drivers are much like those that I have encountered in the West Bank. Though there are many rotaries here and like in the US, nobody properly teaches people how to drive around them. Seriously, there are rules to rotaries. I think that I will have to start teaching people - my next business plan, though I fear that it will not really take -off. Hit the gym while on a conference call and blogging while I wait for my seared chicken dinner, then a long night of work ahead of me. Cheers!

A Dreams Vacation

Just having come off one of the best vacations ever, I wanted to share the fabulousness of Dreams Punta Cana. Matt and I enjoyed an uneventful flight down to the Dominican Republic and were the 1st passangers off of the plane due to our excited. Immigration and customs goes by quickly - once paying the $10 per person at immigration, you can quickly start your vacation. We had booked through Cheap Caribbean and found having the prepaid transportation helpful. The drive from the airport to Dreams was a solid 45 minutes. Though slightly long, it gave us the ability to see the country. The Dreams team met us upon arrival with a washcloth for freshening up and a mimosa. Yes please! The check-in went quickly and we were off to drop off our bags and start our week of relaxation. The first night was a birthday celebration and the Dreams team did a wonderful job singing to our friend and delivering a pre-ordered cake. The dinner at Portofino was amazing. We had a LONG wait, almost 2 hours for a table, but I think that it was so worth it - amazing! We learned not to arrive at 7:30pm, as this is the big rush and larger tables for 6, especially at Portofino fill quickly. Other amazing dinners included El Patio, and Himitsu. I tried my first sushi (well California rolls and crab, so I didn't delve deep into sushi, but this is a start!) Buffet breakfast was great with tons of selections. The entire week consisted of relaxing by the pool, switching from shade to sun in order not to burn. Our group was part of the daily water vollyball, and we were undeated - naturally. The waitress service was nice, though slow at times. We could make our way down the lazy river to the swim-up bar and back before the waitress returned with our drinks. We were tipping and did seem to get better service then some - though those around us were receiving the same level of service based on our tipping. The entertainment staff worked hard all day. This included activities during the day on the beach and pool, great shows at night, and themed evenings at the disco. St. Patrick's Day was the best with green beer (slightly gross, but good effort), green mixed drinks, and a green foam party. The only negative was the lack of enforcement on both the dance club and drink service to those under 18. After an uncomfortable viewing of a lap dance competition at the disco one night we brought it up to managment and they worked hard to take care of this. They do not use bracelets, so it is all based on what an individual says and I can't blame the kids for trying to succeeding. We found that after that, kids were being id'd at the disco entrance and at the bars. Sorry for ruining the fun, but very uncomfortable to have 14 year olds grinding at the disco near me. I enjoyed a couple of runs on the beach which were nice and allowed me to get off the resort and see locals fishing in the early evenings. What an amazing vacation! I would recommend the Dominican to anyone and warn them of the Mama Juana (a shot created by locals).