Below are comments sent to us by a participant in our most recent Levantine Adventure Tour. Thank you!
My husband Bill and I travelled to Jordan , Syria and Lebanon on a Levantine Adventure trip sponsored by Caravan- Serai. We also did an extension to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman. This trip proved to be a trip of discovery, enlightenment and a sensitivity to other cultures and faiths.
Since 9/11 I have had many misconceptions about the Middle East, mainly because of what I have read and heard on the news. I was prepared to meet with some hostility since I was not wearing a hijab or abaya.
Bill and I did not meet with any hostility either in the cities or in the small villages visited. There were many school children on holiday (Easter week) who would approach us and ask, “Where are you from?” When we told them we were from the USA and lived in California near Disneyland we got a lot of smiles and a big “Welcome to our Country!”
We had the good fortune to have the owner of Caravan-Serai, Rita Zawaideh with us on the tour. Her colorful past living in both Jordan and Syria made for further insight into the lives of people living in the Middle East.
Both Bill and I enjoyed seeing and learning the history of the many ancient Roman ruins, amphitheaters, mosaic masterpieces, visiting Petra (the Rose Red City, spending a cold night in a tent at the Wadi Rum(I used all three blankets given to me),visiting Palmyra and the great Mosques (which were awesome in architecture and design. The inside of the Mosques had Swarovski crystal chandeliers costing over 60 million dollars. We experienced a jeep ride in the desert (it was like being on a roller coaster (I did not like the ride….too scary). I also had the unique experience to go to a fashion show in Dubai. Wow! I thought I was in a New York fashion show…. models from Russia and Sweden modeling the latest in Western attire with Hip Hop music in the background. There were men and women who were dressed in their traditional long black robes and scarf, others in Western garb all seating side by side enjoying the show.
Our tour also took us to a winery in Lebanon. We actually liked both the red and white wines and bought some at the Duty Free shop to take to the hotel.
The highlight of the trip was visiting Rita’s family both in Jordan and Syria. Both families outdid themselves to prepare a sumptuous lunch to top it off with delicious desserts. It was a real treat to talk to each of the family members and find out more about their lives. All were so welcoming, warm and friendly.
I would recommend the trip to all. It was a trip of discovery, educational, enriching, a priceless adventure. Both of us are grateful that we were given the opportunity to travel in these countries. However, it was good to get back to the USA, Irvine, our bed and to our cat, Koko Chanel who missed us.
Betty and Bill