Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lion of Jordan

I have just started to read this book and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone wishing to visit or to live in Jordan.  It is very informative and gives you a wonderful insight into King Hussein's journey to promote peace in the Arab world and how he kept Jordan as a peaceful country despite all the craziness going on around him.

Before I moved to this part of the world, I didn't know much about the history or the politics of the Middle East.  I have to say that I am learning so much and thanks to this book, I am learning that much more.


There are quite a few pubs in Amman!  I never expected there to be, but there are!  To top it all off, there is an Irish pub called, 'Dubliners'.  Now, the only problem with these pubs is that they are incredibly smokey and the variety of alcohol is limited to Amstel beer, Jordanian wine and the standard spirits.  They do have imported stuff, but you would pay a lot of money for it so it's hardly worth it.  I tend to stick to Perrier water when we go out and we don't stay in the pubs for too long because of the smoke - yuck!  I really don't like coming home smelling of stale cigarette smoke.

Eastenders!!!  Goin' dawn the old vic - innit!

Roman Theatre

Today, Robert and I went down town in search of rugs.  Instead, we found some ruins!  This magnificent Roman Theatre was built in the 2nd century AD during the rein of Antoninus Pius (AD 138-61). The theatre has been cut into the the northern side of the hill and it is right in the heart of the city of Amman.  It has the seating capacity of 6000 and there are often productions in the summer time.  We've never been to one, but hopefully we can catch a show in August.

A room full of ancient mosaics

A year ago, I would not have been able to walk up these stairs - today.  I ran them!

I love this picture because you can see the Citadel on the top of the hill.

The back drop to this is downtown, hustle and bustle Amman - very cool!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Umm Qais

This weekend, we took a trip up north to visit our friend, Mohammed and his wife, Lara.  They live close to the city of Irbid, the 2nd largest city in Jordan and home to the University of Yarmouk, one of the best universities in the Middle East.

I thought this picture was pretty cool.  Irbid is very close to the Syrian border and lots of refugees have come to Irbid to find work and for a little bit of stability.  Homeland fans, check out the name, Abu Nusseir.  I thought that was pretty funny.

The recent rain has fertilised that land and now Jordan is green!  

We stayed with our friends and they cooked us lunch/dinner.

The AMAZING meal Lara and Mohammed cooked for us.  I am not sure what the name is in Arabic, but the creamy dish is stuffed zucchini (courgette) in a lemony, yoghurt sauce - very, very tasty!  There is also grape leaves and rice and a lamb curry.

Our lovely friends, Mohammed and his beautiful wife, Lara -  very sweet, gentle people.  I feel lucky to have met them both.

Below is a picture of Umm Qais.  In the Roman era, Umm Qais was known as Gedara.  The Romans transformed this town into one of the great cities of the Decapolis.  Herod the Great was given Gedara after a naval victory and he ruled over this land until his death in 4 BC.

Umm Qais (Gedara) is mentioned in the Bible - 

And when he came to the other side, to the country of Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way.  And behold, they cried out, "What have you to do with us, O Son of God?  Have you cine here to torment us before our time?"  Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, "If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine." And he said to them, "Go." so they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters.
Matthew 8:28-32

                                                 This is the first cow we've seen in Jordan.

Archaeologists have recently uncovered some mosaics on the ground.  What's amazing is that you can still see the colours and you can walk on it!  Not that we did because we don't want to ruin it, but if you wanted to, you could,

A Roman bath - I can imagine this would have been an impressive public bath with fountains and statues.

Below are ancient shops.

I loved standing at this vantage point because the road to the bottom left is an Israeli road and the road to the right is Jordanian.  Further to the right is Syria.  We could also see the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias)  but the camera couldn't pick it up because it was a little hazy.