Welcome to Jordan!

Trip Start Jan 19, 2005
1
6
15
Trip End Feb 19, 2005


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Flag of Jordan  ,
Sunday, February 6, 2005

I like Jordan.  I'm beginning to understand El Lawrence's
facination with the place.  Everywhere I go people are coming up and
saying, "Welcome to Jordan!"  When I went out for lunch I went to pay
the guy with a 5 JD note and he said that he didn't have any change. 
So he just waved his hand and said, "Tomorrow."  I like that.  Total
and complete trust that I would come back and pay him.  Of course when
I went back to pay I bought another shawarma.  The only bad thing about
Jordan so far has been the weather.  It's 5 degrees and raining.  If I
wanted that then I would have stayed home. 
 
Everything in Amman can be seen in a day.  The city was founded as
the Roman city called Philadelphia.  Who do you think that they are
cheering for in the Super Bowl?  There are a couple of neat Roman
ruins, a number of large mosques, and a number of churches.  Every
morning comes the call to prayer which basically goes like this:
 
God is great
God is great
There is only one god
Mohammad is his prophet
Come to pray for happiness
Come to pray for wealth
Come to pray
God is great.
 
The first call to prayer is at 5am.  At 7am the bells from the
churches start to clang.  It's kind of like hitting the snooze button
at 5 and getting up on the second alarm at 7.
 
Yesterday, I went up to the old Roman city of Jerash.  The theatre
there has great views and the acoustics are amazing.  Upon entering the
city I came across an Arab bagpipe band.  They were really good and
were certainly a surprise.  There is plenty to see in Jerash as there
is the theatre, a hippodrome, a number of remains of churches with tile
flooring, and of course columns and temples strewn about.
 
I met a couple of Aussies at the ruins who had hired a taxi for
the day and they invited me to go up to Ajlun Castle where the Arab
forces of Salaheddine (Saladin) defeated the Crusaders in the 12th
century.  The castle had a great atmosphere to it as the mists from the
clouds rolled through.  I kept on asking the Aussies if it would go
over well if we started throwing the cannon ball like rocks at the
people down below just like the old days.
 
The Aussies were great.  One was named Bruce and I called the
other guy Bruce just to avoid confusion.  Really!  Actually, the other
guy's name was Andrew and he had been working in Jordan for the last 2
years.  Basically, he had gone native and could speak good Arabic which
was very useful when we went for lunch.
 
I'm leaving Petra for when I return to Jordan.  It's too wet to see it now.  I'm off to Cairo so I'll talk to you all later.
 
Salam Alakun
 
Jim
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