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On my visit to Jordan, I rented a small compact car for two weeks. After my visit to the Dead Sea, my next destination was the ancient ruins of Petra. What I didn't realize at the time, this drive along the Dead Sea and over the mountains was going to be the most memorable part of this trip. I've said before, often the journey is more memorable than the destination. I think that is because I have high expectations of the attraction at the end, so it can only disappoint. But, with no expectations of the journey, it can only impress.

I was a bit worried about my small compact. These cars can have very small engines in them. I remembered a car I rented in Thailand once, and it was unable to make a steep mountain climb. I had to back down until I found a turnout to turn around. With that memory in mind, I was a bit apprehensive to take the mountain road, but the lure of adventure was too much. Go for it!

I ended up having no issues and was rewarded for my decision:

I had just completed an amazing drive along the Dead Sea as posted here:

Having views like this, I didn't think it could improve from here:

There are not a lot of major throughways in Jordan. I could have taken a longer route and avoided this steep climb, but I'm glad I didn't:

This was one desolate drive! I thought I would see more traffic than I did since there are so few roads in this area of Jordan. Occasionally a local would drive by, but very few. And where are the tourists? I mean, the Dead Sea and Petra are the main attractions, and this road links the two. It was quite a nice surprise to enjoy this drive mostly to myself.

The road was in great shape. That was a concern of mine before I started, but it was unfounded.

I realize to many this may not look like much. But being in it was a bit surreal. It really seemed like being on another planet.

This was not an area I would have wanted car trouble (ok, I really don't want it anywhere). There was no cell phone coverage if you had a breakdown and waiting for help would likely consume your day.

These are the rare moments in travel when you feel you've got something special to yourself.

But not quite to myself. I saw this lonely cowboy from a distance. How ambitious to scale that rocky dune!

I finally reached an elevation where I actually found snow! Who knew there was snow in the middle eastern country of Jordan?

At this altitude it got a bit mystic. Being a cloud walker gives a new perspective.

These are the moments I travel for. To be surprised by the unexpected. To start my day with little expectations and then be hit by a huge wow factor. That was this day in Jordan. The most memorable of the three plus weeks I was there.

Some last videos if you care to watch:

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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Cruising altitude for most flights is in the 30,000 to 40,000 foot range. But nothing really exciting happens that far up. Looking out of the window all you see are clouds or a miniature earth below.

When I fly I always prefer the aisle seat. I readily give up the scenic view of the window to have easy access to the rest room. As I age, that becomes more important. And, I don't like being at the mercy of an inconsiderate aisle monitor such as what happened on this flight:

But the purpose of this post is to show some of the scenery at 10,000 feet and below. That's when aerial photography gets a lot more interesting. At that level you're high enough to still get some great perspectives, but low enough that the detail becomes more apparent.

The desert views at lower altitudes.

Himalayas at low altitudes

But sunset and sunrise are often the most dramatic.

Some city views are better than others

I probably have some better aerial pictures but they take too long to find. I'm not that good at organizing my photos into files.

Many times, if I'm in a window seat (which is usually only overseas trips where I have an aisle/window business class seat) I will be taking pictures out the window. Others will see me doing it and strain to see what is so interesting. But it's often quite mundane to them I think.

Anyway, that's a flavor of life at 10,000 feet and below.

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  • Writer's pictureKirk

While visiting Hershey, Pennsylvania, I came across a very strange boy. He hated chocolate! What! Who hates chocolate? Well at least one little boy,

I saw him at the Hershey chocolate factory. He was making his own personalized chocolate candy bar but had a scowl on his face

Curious, I asked the boy what was the matter. To which he replied, "Why don't you mind your own business you nosy old American!"

Well, I've heard that before but it's never deterred me. So I told him if he didn't answer my question I would make him eat two chocolate bars. That did the trick. He spilled the beans

"I hate chocolate. My parents make me eat it all day long. Chocolate pancakes for breakfast. Chocolate ice cream for lunch. And chocolate milk for dinner. I hate chocolate!", he said. Wow! I didn't expect that. Who makes their kids eat chocolate all day long? No wonder he had such a sad face.

I could see how exasperated he was as he watched his personalized candy bar make it through assembly . "Oh no!", he said. "I just know my mommy is going to make me eat it."

Well, I had great sympathy for this boy. I mean, he's never eaten a delicious brussel sprout? Not even a single fiddle head? How much abuse could one child tolerate?

I walked beside him as he followed his candy bar through the assembly line. Privately he wished the bar would fall off or somehow be ruined in this process, but no such luck. His chocolate treat was processing just fine!

When the candy bar was finished, the boy refused to pick it up. He just stopped there with his arms folded with a stubborn look on his face.

Well, I could not stand to see his pain any longer. I picked up his candy bar and ate it in front of him. Then I opened my backpack and gave him a delicious can of spinach I had been saving for later.

You would think I gave him his first hot fudge sundae! You should have seen him quickly open that can of spinach and drink it out of the can like it was a milkshake. Then, with a big smile he said, "I hope my mom and dad don't find out about this. They don't like it when I eat healthy foods between meals!”

Sorry little buddy. I've never heard of such child abuse in my life! Imagine that, to be forced to eat chocolate all your life.

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