As summer is nearby, I always wonder how to run two businesses and get away
from it all. Travel research shows that we Americans are the most likely to waste
vacation days. The best solution I see is to combine business and pleasure with
each trip abroad.
After registering for a conference in Dubai, I was intrigued by the modern Middle
East when I wanted to learn more about its ancient cultures. After some research, I
found a flight to Dubai via Jordan with a stopover of a few days.
I left nothing to chance, organized a shuttle service from the airport and booked a 5-
star hotel well located in an upscale area of Amman with several restaurants in the
area and at the hotel. After studying Arabic, I was happy to practice it, although the
Egyptian courses I studied differ considerably from the Jordanian dialect.
Crossroads, Jordan has a remarkable history, from the ancient Nabataeans to
Alexander the Great, through the Roman, Byzantine and Arab cultures. In addition to
historic monuments, Jordan has a very lively contemporary culture. Shortly after my
arrival, I saw this first hand when a local wedding found its way into the hotel lobby to
celebrate with dance and music.
The next day, I toured the capital to explore the Roman ruins of Amman. I stood high
in the city above the city, listening to the muezzin's call to prayer. With only a short
stay, I took advantage of a driver as a local guide for about 12 hours a day.
Fortunately, the distances were close enough with the exploration of the next day
concentrated on the Roman ruins of Jerash. Popular history begins at the time of
Alexander the Great but fell under the Romans in the first century AD under Pompey.
With the mild climate of October, my guide and I then ate outdoors in the middle of
the vineyards. There was no sightseeing bus in sight!
The next day's trip to Byzantine Madaba ended in the famous Dead Sea. Famous for
his spa treatments, I just had time to look at the sea before following my steps
Saving the best until the end meant a full day in the pink city of Petra built by the
Nabataeans. It can be seen in Indiana Jones and other films and in a mystery novel
by the successful British writer Agatha Christie. It is a World Heritage site that rivals
the pyramids. Beyond the big treasure, there are a number of small buildings and
terraces and handicrafts conveniently located for sale. Of course, the tourist route
back to the entrance had to be on a camel, which gave great photos.
After an enchanting week, it was time to head to Dubai for a conference and short
Dubai is known for the unexpected, such as air-conditioned
bus stops, the Palm development and ultra-luxury hotels. For me, as an "Intermittent
Intermediate Skier", I was fascinated by the indoor ski area in a local mall. With
limited expectations of real training, I knew this would be a great story and the
perfect location for a photo of a Christmas card.
After a party of Southern Fried
Chicken in the Mall of the Emirates Food Court, I covered my summer clothing with a
colourful ski outfit and I was in the escalator ski and sticks in hand. After a few runs, it was finished for hot chocolate in the adjacent St. Moritz Café and the perfect end
to my Mideast odyssey.