Art, architecture, history, travel

Jordan اَلأُرْدُنّ‎ Al-ʾUrdunn We left Cairo and flew to ‘Amman the captial of Jordan.

Jordan  al ‘Urdan  اَلأُرْدُنّ‎  Al-ʾUrdunn

 ‘Amman عمانis the capital of Jordan. Jordan is a Kingdom.  We flew from Cairo CAI to ‘Amman  AMM on Royal Jordanian. The Queen of Jordan attended Princeton in the United States. It is a very civilized country. The offices are very business like. We visited some airline offices collecting information for our next trip. At that time, it is not a very large city. Originally just a rail stop on the Hejaz railway. Msgr. Diviney, the priest who married us, had a nephew working in ‘Amman, as an architect. We didn’t have a chance to look him up. ‘Amman has grown considerably since then. It is now a city of several million. Like Rome it was originally laid out on seven hills.
Got my copy of Hans Wehr Arabic-English Dictionary. I carried it all the way back home, long before the days of Amazon when you can get any book you want from anywhere. We forgot to bring the pop tarts. We are getting very tired of falafel. The food is about the same as in Egypt except you might get a green salad if you are lucky. The climate here is different. The altitude is higher. Still a desert but not as hot as Cairo. Sometimes, they even get snow in the winter
I decided to get a haircut. The barber gave me an Iraqi magazine and a calendar. The censors took the magazine when we got to Israel, but they let me keep the calendar. It was here that I was introduced to the curious Eastern practice of hair threading.
map_maan_jordan 0385418957
We were waiting at the bus stop a man approached us. I said to him Wain al Ballad? How do we get downtown? He offered to show us around the old city. An elderly man, he seemed nice we decided to trust him. He took us to his office. We had tea.
It turned out he had a business importing replacement windows to Jordan from the United States. The windows were made in Cincinnati, of all places. He wanted to talk to us about the United States and Ohio.  He had never been there. He introduced us to the people in his office. They had lots of questions, too. They were all so nice. We enjoyed our visit. They did show us the sites.
They add cardamon to the coffee here.  They have nice sweets and pastries, too. Tea is ubiquitous. Coffee is more expensive. Ninety percent of everything here is imported. The manufacturing base is almost nonexistent. They even sell slushies, just like in the US. A good deal in a hot country. We saw many trucks on the highway carrying freight to and from Syria. They grow oranges here.
‘Amman is an ancient city, a Greek and Roman colony, mentioned in the Bible as Philadelphia in the Decapolis. There are ruins and a Roman amphitheater downtown.  It has grown 10 times since we were there. There have been two wars, since we were there. King Hussein died in 1999.
We rented a  car and drove to Petra, Aqaba and could see Eilat in Israel. The power went out for a while. Luckily we had brought a flashlight with us. Petra is the ancient stone city of the Nabataeans. Like Machu Picchu has remained hidden until modern times (1810.) The rose-red city half as old as time. Carved into solid rock it is a true archeological marvel. It was the highlight of the trip. The entrance is hidden by a path through sheer rock. There was no hotel in Petra.
In Aqaba we rented a tent on the shore of the Red sea. We were only 12 miles from Saudi Arabia, but we didn’t have a visa. So we didn’t stop there. We did our laundry.
What no Surf? KT went swimming in the Red Sea, too cold for me. We decided to do something different. We saw little rotisserie chickens like in Germany–Wienerwald and Chinese food. We tried them both. This is truly and interesting place. Even the Chinese food tasted like falafel. I think it’s because of the oil. There must be a Chinese restaurant in every town in the world.
We were influenced by the movie Lawrence of Arabia and the book Seven Pillars of Wisdom. On the way back we stopped in Wadi rum, a desert oasis, to visit the Bedouins.
We had to leave Jordan by bus and cross the Allenby bridge over the Jordan river into Israel. It is impossible to cross the other way. A man invited us to visit him in Syria. We said maybe next time. I would love to visit Damascus. You cannot have an Israeli stamp in your passport. They are very serious about this. I had bought some tea cups like I had seen in Turkey and Russia. I left them in the waiting room. I can’t tell you what a stir that caused. The driver said you left a package at the bus stop? We had to drive back immediately and get it.
On the way to Jerusalem we drove by Jericho the oldest city in the world. The bible is coming alive here.
  • Do you like to travel?
  • What is your favorite country in the Middle East?
  • Do you know any other languages?
  • Does the current political situation make you afraid to travel there?

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