I can’t believe a week has gone by already since I left Aqaba. Feels like yesterday. I hadn’t seen it for about 3 years and truth be told I had no idea it was Aqaba until I saw two things: a Jordanian flag and a picture of His Majesty’s family. It has changed so much.
For one thing the Intercon has changed the landscape of hotels in the area by a major landslide. It redefines 5 star hotels and 5 star service. For instance, even the maintenance man or the guy who changes the chlorine in the pool can speak near-to-perfect English, which I found strange to say the least. I mean 5 star hotels in Toronto all have Arabs working for them and most of’em can hardly speak English.
There are cranes all over the place building new hotels, the Kempenski is being built right next to the Intercon. There’s also one being built in the Dead Sea beside the Movenpick. The government is really going the whole nine yards with the Aqaba project. While alot of the land has been sold to private industries (such as hotels) there are still public beaches all though they are incredibly dirty by its visitors. Ironically, there are garbage cans every few meters all around town which is something they should do in Amman although it’s too big.
The Aqaba Gateway is a nice little tourist destination just a few blocks from the Intercon. Filled with restaurants and little shops including a Rover’s Return with a panaromanic view of the sea. There’s also a small old boat, like a pirate ship, that’s inside the water area. I took a few pictures at night but I like the one I posted the best because it looks like both the boat and the water are on fire. I also liked the idea of the street in the middle of town which reminds me of the Cultural street in Shmisani. It’s complete with a waterfall and is packed at night with locals like the 2nd circle on a thursday night.
Regardless of the attacks a few weeks back, Aqaba is as it was, as if nothing happened. The hotels are packed mostly with European tourists.
I wanted to see Tala Bay and the site of the American University in Jordan (AUJ), but it was a little out of the way. Every taxi in Aqaba costs half a JD regardless of distance but runs on meter outside the borders of the city. At the time I found it a bit pricy to have to pay to get to these places but now, here in Toronto, my hindsight is 20/20.
Anyways, it was just a weekend and it was about having fun with friends one last time before I go, with the probability that I may not return for some time again.