Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Downtown Amman and Hashem Restaurant

We don't go downtown as often as we should.  It is usually extremely crowded, hot and dusty, but it is Eid and things are a little quiet, albeit all the shops and markets are not open. 

A very quiet downtown Amman.
 One place was open and it was a restaurant that we have been meaning to go to since we arrived in Amman - Hashem Restaurant.  This place receives number 2 of the top things to do in Amman in the Lonely Planet guide: 

 "A legendary place that overflows into the alley, Hashem is incredibly popular with locals for felafel, hummus and fuul (fava-bean paste). A filling meal with bread and mint tea costs around JD1. As one reader extolled: ‘nothing but bread, hummus, fuul and felafel, but everything is fresh and dirt cheap. We love this place!’

This is what you get, hummus, falafel, fuul and pita bread.

We ordered the food, 4 teas, 1 water and a coke which came to 6JDs!!!!!  Excellent price!!!!

Yes, you are eating in an alleyway.

But the people are very friendly.

Large tour groups often come in here as it is a stop off on one of the tourist routes.

Personally, I thought this place was ok.  I didn't like the fuul at all.  The falafel and hummus was good, but after I have lived here for a while, it kind of all tastes the same.  Maybe some will disagree with me and I would say to them that I am not a hummus and falafel connoisseur and forgive my ignorance.  I did however love the price, the ambiance was great and it was a cultural experience.  I will definitely return and take visitors here as it is a must to experience and a great resting stop after a day of walking around downtown Amman.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Eid with friends

Last year, our friends Spencer and Amani came to visit us.  This year our good friend from Belgium has come over.  On Friday, we took him up to the Citadel at lunch time to hear the call to prayer.  It was AMAZING!  The entire city sang and the echoes off the surrounding hills was a beautiful, intense experience.  We had a video of it so hopefully you can access it.

Good friends

The streets are very quite on a Friday.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Eid al-Adha Mubarak

We are on holiday because it is Eid al-Adha in Jordan.  Muslims celebrate this as the 'festival of sacrifice'.  It is important to Muslims to honour the willingness of the prophet Abraham to sacrifice his young first-born son Ismail (or Isaac from a Christian perspective as Ismail was born out of wedlock). Allah was impressed by Abraham's submission that he intervened to provide Abraham with a lamb to sacrifice instead. 

This story is present in the Old Testament of the Bible in Genesis.  (I LOVE living in a biblical land.  I am learning so much history/stories.)

Now, all over Jordan, lambs/sheep are being sacrificed to honour the festival.  People will share the feast with family and friends.  It is also a time of giving.  One of the parents at my school organized a fund raiser for orphans in poor parts of Jordan.  Our school raised 1500JD which is fantastic.  My principal promised that if the children of ACS could fill the box, she would kiss a sheep and she did!

The Kempinski - Dead Sea Hotel

While the Movenpick is good for a day trip, The Kempinski is great for an overnight stay.  In saying that, we've never actually stayed overnight at the Movenpick so it could be good, but we LOVED The Kempinski.  The breakfast is fantastic!

rooms are a great size, modern and clean.

A room with a view over Israel.

Personally, I love the access to the Dead Sea from The Kempinski because it is more beach like and not a jetty.

The Dead Sea - Movenpick Zara Spa

We often go to the Movenpick for the day.  The last time we went was with Janice and Mike (thought about you lots JJ).  A day entrance is 50JD and with that you get a 25 JD food voucher. This time, I went with a friend to the Zara Spa.  It cost 65 JD to get in, but that entrance cost is reimbursed off the price of the treatment you choose (as long as it is over 100JD).  I chose the mama-to-be massage and a head, neck and shoulder rub.  I thought, I've had a hard few weeks of non-stop work, I deserve and nice massage.  It was so worth it!  I highly recommend the Movenpick for a day at the Dead Sea.

Our new home

 It has been so long since I last wrote a proper blog post.  Life has been so busy!  First of all, we moved into a new place that wasn't quite 'finished' in the sense that, the bed mattress was old and rotten, the washing machine didn't work and there was furniture and stuff that we just didn't need or want.  It took quite a while for all of these things to get sorted which was quite frustrating, especially the washing machine not working.  Each weekend, Robert and I would have to fill up pots and pans of water to get the machine going and we'd have to do this twice every time we wanted to wash a something.  Finally, it got sorted, but it probably took about a month.  Then, we were introduced to our new landlord (hence why it took so long because the original landlord sold the house).  Our new landlord was not happy with the paint job so asked us if he could get contractors in to paint the entire house.  "Sure" we said.  Anything to get rid of the nasty yellow and gold speckled paint job that already existed.  A week it took them and it was the longest week ever!  During that week, everything that we thought was wrong with the place got fixed so it was very busy indeed.  Now the place is awesome and it feels like our home.  I'll add some before and after pictures up.  It is still not quite finished, but it will be by Christmas.

Entrance Room Before

Entrance room after (pre painting)

Lounge before
Lounge after (pre painting...notice those nasty swags and tails are gone!)

Nice working fire place for the winter.
Our lovely garden which has been repainted so doesn't look so dirty. Notice we put the ugly brown sofas outside and the entrance sofas in the lounge....much better arrangement.

So with the house and school, life has been hectic.  School this year seems to be even busier than last.  I think I have taken on a lot of commitments this year.  But the way I see it, I might as well do as much as I can now because when this baby is here, my number one commitment will be baby, not school!

I am very grateful to be on holiday now because both Robert and I feel like we haven't stopped!  This is what our week and our weekends have looked like:
Sunday - up at 6am, school at 7am work until 5pm (lucky if we get an hour for lunch, more like 20 minutes) so that's 10 hours non stop.  Then go home, make dinner, eat at 7pm.  Do some more school work till 10pm go to bed.
Monday - same as Sunday
Tuesday - same as Monday
Wednesday - same as Tuesday
Thursday - same as Wednesday but may go round to a friends for the evening.
Friday  - SLEEP in till 8am, potter round the house, wash clothes, go to the supermarket for weekly shopping , go into school to plan/catch up, watch a movie and relax.
Saturday - SLEEP in till 8am, house stuff, visit friends, go into school to get ready for the week.

And repeat for about 10 weeks till we get a well deserved break :-)

Teaching is HARD. but very rewarding and I wouldn't want to do anything else.

If you want to keep up to date with what I am doing at school, you can follow my school blog.  I have added the link in the Blogs We Read section.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Yoshi Japanese

Maybe one of the nicest Japanese restaurants in town and with a hungry, happy hour every day (half price off food) it is no wonder it is such a popular place.  We often come here after we have seen our lovely baby doctor.  It is a very nice, clean place with a great outside area.  Highly recommend, but come during happy hour otherwise it can be very pricey.