Irbid and Umm Qais

Trip Start Jan 19, 2008
Trip End Jun 01, 2008

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Flag of Jordan  , Umm Qais,
Monday, May 12, 2008

Dan and I went on a short day trip to the north on Saturday.  We went by bus first to Irbid, then to Umm Qais.  In case your Jordan geography is as shaky as mine, Umm Qais is on the last major cities before the Syrian border.

We visited some great Roman ruins overlooking Lake Tiberius and the Golan Heights in Umm Qais.  The ruins were quite a bit different from others in Jordan in that they're not made of granite.  (basalt mumkin?) The dark gray rock made yet another uncharacteristically cool day in Jordan a bit warmer as the sun warmed the stones quite nicely.  Also the contoured seats in this amphitheater were somehow more comfortable than the seats in old Tiger Stadium.  Them Romans just keep getting more and more impressive. 

Besides the Roman ruins, there were some modern day ruins of bomb shelters and lookout bunkers facing the Golan Heights.  They were probably old British bunkers from World War II.  Anyway, the contrast between stoic handcrafted pillars and rushed rebarred cement was stark.  

The best part about the ruins at Umm Qais (besides the view) was the surprising lack of tourists.  All the students in the program have developed this sudden almost violent reaction to every tourist we see.  Maybe it's those hot pink short shorts or the PDA or your everyday American agnorance.  It makes us cringe every time.  I may have gone native.  Seeing people hold hands in public is no longer cute: it disgusts and frightens me.  I saw two Germans kissing the other day downtown and I almost Saudi-smacked them.  The line has recently crossed from fearing for their safety and legitimately being disgusted by them.  Coming back to the US may make my head explode.

Holy tangent travelpod.  After walking around Umm Qais for a while, we took the bus back to Irbid to grab lunch.  We each had two twenty-five cent kabob sandwiches which were a welcome change from the never-ending schwarma and falafel.  We both went to several fruit stands for the best oranges you could imagine.  The cheap fruit will be dearly missed.

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