Amman, Jordan. June 29-August 3, 2013

A little more on Petra and Wadi Rum: both sites are located in the south of Jordan. Petra was an outpost for the ancient Nabatean civilization that spread all across present day Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and Israel (or Palestine, whichever you prefer). Petra has several different cultural influences in their architecture and daily life including Roman, Babylonian, Arab, and Judaic. The city of Petra was a major trading hub in ancient times, being a big stop on the Silk Road that stretched from China to the Mediterranean. Recently (before becoming a UNESCO world heritage site) the landmark was home to bedouin tribes until being kicked out in the late 1970’s- mid 1980’s. Wadi Rum, coming from the Arabic words for valley and sand respectively, literally meaning “valley of sand”; is a group of hundreds of rock formations carved by a millennium of water and wind movement. The area used to be an ancient sea in prehistoric times, hence the random lumps of rock protruding from the sandy desert floor. Wadi Rum was the home to TE Lawrence or, Lawrence of Arabia as he is known in popular culture. TE Lawrence used Wadi Rum as a base for some of his attacks against the Ottoman Turks during the Great Arab Revolt, a side war of World War One between the Ottomans and the Royal family (the Hashemites….name sounds familiar) of the Arabs. Hope this clarifies and gives better explanation of the places I saw this past weekend.

Jul 22
Wadi Rum and Petra trip continued
Jul 22

Web to Petra and Wadi Rum last weekend. Wow…words cannot describe the history and beauty there! The first 4 pictures are from Petra and the 5 is just a picture out the bus window since we took the Old Kings Highway from Petra to Wadi Rum (a part of the Silk Road) the last 5 pictures are from Wadi Rum. Enjoy!

Jul 15

Last night was interesting. We heard of an event at the citadel that starts at 9 pm and goes to 3 am and it is one huge party for Iftar (breaking of the fast). Food, drink, and a lot of shopping tents all or 5 JD…not a bad price! Well Dustin, Alex, and I got to the citadel and nothing was going on. So we took to the streets and ended up having a ball meeting some locals (to which they warmly invited us to some coffee), trying various deserts, and walking the streets of downtown Amman. It was excellent!

Jul 13

This weekend my group and I took a little weekend trip to Aqaba! Jordan’s only coastal town and (I think) second largest city is home to some of the best diving in the world and pretty good night life. Those of you who have seen the blockbuster classic “Lawrence of Arabia” might have heard of the town because it used to be an Ottoman controlled port, granting the empire much needed sea access. The first day most of us did some scuba diving( the third picture is our dive route) which was fantastic and the second day (today) we took a glass bottom boat out to view the reefs and do some snorkeling as well. We also were granted a wonderful view of the Dead Sea, the first picture shown, on the way to and from Aqaba; the rest of the drive was a barren, but beautiful expanse of desert (the second picture). I don’t think anyone left disappointed!

Yesterday was the first breaking of the fast for the holy month if fasting, Ramadan. I spent it with Jeff (seated next to me) and Dustin (across from Jeff) who are two of my apartment mates. We went to Turkish land and had some amazing food! I am choosing to fast as many days as I can to get the ultimate cultural experience while I’m here. So far so good!
Jul 11

Yesterday was the first breaking of the fast for the holy month if fasting, Ramadan. I spent it with Jeff (seated next to me) and Dustin (across from Jeff) who are two of my apartment mates. We went to Turkish land and had some amazing food! I am choosing to fast as many days as I can to get the ultimate cultural experience while I’m here. So far so good!

Jul 9

Our group ate at a really goo restaurant in downtown Amman called The Living Room. It’s across from the Intercontinental Jordan Hotel and has fantastic food for a descent price (my kebab sandwich was 5.250 JD +cost for water and tax). L to R top to bottom: panoramic view of the patio seating (where we were seated), what the entire patio area looks like, the fountains overflow under those tables and it’s really cool, and a panoramic view at night.

Jul 5

Today, our group took a trip to the northern towns of Ajloun and Jerash. In Ajloun we saw the famous crusader era castle nestled atop a mountain. It was built there because a church was built there and that church was built there because Jesus is believed to have walked on that same mountain top. The first 5 photos are from there. In Jerash we visited the best preserved Roman city in the Middle East called Gerassa. The best mosaic floor of a church, the largest standing temple dedicated to Artemis, a splendid amphitheater, and today it is the site of the Jerash festival- a fine arts showcase.

Jul 2

Visit to the Amman citadel. Thousands of years of history compiled in one location. Roman, Christian, and Muslim ruins are found on the oldest of seven hills that make up the original Capitol of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. That number is 55 now with the mass influx of refugees from Palestine, Iraq, and now Syria. The site is also home to some local wildlife…

Jul 2

L to R: the university entrance, the street in front of the university, random posters in the walking bridge, street view, the restaurant I are at, and my patio view.

Jul 1

From top to bottom: the sunset last night on my flight. Abdul (my Saudi companion by our misfortune with TSA) had the window seat, lucky dog. Various spots in London Heathrow airport, where I am now. No these aren’t taken in the same spot. This airport really is that big.