Saturday, March 24, 2012

Aqaba, Jordan

Aqaba on Jordan's southern tip sits on the Red Sea. You can look across the water to see Israel and Egypt. A few miles down the coast is Saudi Arabia. It is Jordan's only coastal city and major attraction for tourists.
The desert heat will take your breathe away, the many Five-Star resorts will cater to all your desires and the gay culture alongside Arab women wearing full hijab (i.e. covering all their body & face) will confuse any western tourist. You can watch a belly dancer in bar, but probably shouldn't venture onto the street with shorts. Men can pick up a prostitute, women can disco, but the Muslim call to prayers will still happen on schedule five times daily.
The Movenpick and the Intercontinental are two of many beautiful hotels along the sea. In the daytime, bring the kids and enjoy the water -- boating, snorkeling, exquisite resort swimming pools, and jet skies are popular. Its rich marine life makes the sea a bastion for diving.  In the evening, leave the children with babysitters to enjoy the many downtown pubs and restaurants.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Petra, Jordan - the Rose City

Petra, meaning stone, is an ancient city in Jordan chiseled of stone. Don't bring the children until they are old enough to appreciate it and hike it on their own. Established as early as 312 BC, today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its called the Rose City after its reddish mountains. The buildings are half-built, half-carved into the mountains' sides. The city was lost until the mid-1800s when archaeologists re-discovered its splendor. You'll recognize it from the Indiana Jones movies.
At its pinnacle is a Monastery, 804 uneven steps straight up, it will take you more than hour to climb, but from there you'll have one of the best views in the world. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Descanso....gardens within gardens

Descanso Gardens (  is 160 acres of forest and gardens on the rim of the city of Los Angeles. Open year-round, the gardens were built in 1953. Its enchanted railroad attracts train aficionados young and old. The grounds are divided into different gardens, described as "gardens within gardens." More than 3000 rose bushes bloom in its rose gardens annually. Tea is served in the summer time in its Japanese Gardens. Its Oak Forest is has trees that are centuries old. Camellias, lilacs, and iris are also featured in the gardens. In the summer months, there are evening concerts. The Brody House, also on the grounds, features collections of art. Hundreds of events for families are held annually on the grounds.

Alex and Serene both love the gardens. They can run free, check out turtles in the ponds, run through the children's maze, and ride the train. And, its even better if you invite a friend.