5.22.2014

Jordan in pictures and words (part one)

When I got asked to go to Jordan for almost three weeks, of course I said yes, but I had no idea what to expect. I honestly did not know much about the country beyond what I had learned from two coworkers who had been there for surgical missions. I was headed there to teach at Operation Smile Jordan's AHA training center and to help them train some new instructors. Looking out the window as we descended into the airport I just saw vast desert, and I thought, yes, I must be in the Middle East!

The architecture of the city of Amman, where I stayed, was so unique to me. Most buildings are a shade of white and made of stone or marble. Amman is sprawled out over seven+ hilltops so it makes for breathtaking views at every turn. My very first afternoon there, I ate with the hostel manager and other guests then promptly went on an unsuccessful hunt for avocados (avos aren't available in Guwahati.) I walked all along the winding roads, in awe of how different Jordan felt from any other place I have ever been. I couldn't find the veg market that evening but when I did, I had a huge smile on my face! The way the sellers were calling out, singing, shouting, bargaining. There was so much life in that market, I didn't want to leave. My work week started the next day but in the evenings I managed to get out and explore as much as possible. My favorite afternoon was when I went to the Citadel which I had been eyeing from a distance every night. Up there are remains of Roman and Umayad days along with a panoramic view of the whole city. After the Citadel I walked down through neighbourhoods to reach an ancient Roman Amphitheatre that is carved into a hillside.

(Amman in all of its glory)


(temple of Hercules)

(ancient amphitheatre!)

My other evenings were spent wandering the market, wandering Rainbow street and eating really good food every single night. On my first Friday off I joined two other guests from the hostel to head to Madaba, Mt. Nebo and the Dead Sea. Madaba is a town best known for a wonderfully preserved mosaic map of the Holy Land and the surrounding area. Mt. Nebo is the mountain where it believed that Moses climbed and had his glimpse of the Holy Land ahead, which he wasn't allowed to enter. Archaeologists also think this is the mountain he is buried in. I was really excited to go up Mt. Nebo, it was a nice day so we could see the valley of Jordan, Jerusalem and Jericho from some points. There were a lot of tourists so it was hard to find quiet and peace to take in such a historical place but I managed a tiny bit.

(a cathedral in Madaba)

(do you think this is how Moses presented the Holy Land to the others?)

(camels everywhere)

Next we went to the Dead Sea, the most salinated body of water! I kept imagining what it must have been like for Bedouins or anyone wandering the desert and finding this beautiful body of water just to drink from it and find out how salty it is! What a huge disappointment it must have been. I have to be honest here, I was super worried about what to wear at the Dead Sea. I brought my bathing suit (a bikini), shorts, a t-shirt and even leggings because I had no idea how covered I should be (Jordan is a muslim majority country with a mixed Sharia law.) When we got there, we saw a lot of people in bathing suits so I covered up and right at the water I waded in in my suit. The Dead Sea is definitely not a body of water that you spend a lot of time in. It burns any small cut you have, and if you get it in your eyes or mouth... forget about it!! We floated around for awhile, marvelling at how little effort it took to just drift around on our backs versus the immense amount of effort it takes to be on your belly. Then we got out to cover ourselves in mud, eat ice cream and roast in the sun. It was beautiful!! The ice cream pictures still cracks me up every time! My skin felt so different after the salt and the mud. I brought some Dead Sea mud home with me and plan to give little jars of it out when I next go to the U.S!


(a gem in the desert)

(casually "reading" an arabic newspaper while floating)




It was a fantastic Friday indeed. Jordan is a fairly small country, I didn't know beforehand how easy it would be to get to see so many places on the few days I had off. Working there was great. We had basic and advanced life support provider classes as well as a few instructor courses. I have never taught AHA courses in America itself but I have to imagine that the training center in Jordan reflects exactly what the AHA would want for its centers around the world!

 (OS Jordan office and training  centre)

 (a perfect room!)

(after watching an Arabian band)

The highlight of the trip was Petra but that story will have to wait for another day... 

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Jordan has always interested me mainly because of Petra and the Dead Sea (so I can't wait to hear about your visit to Petra!) but also because other than these two things, I know so little about it.
    Also I'm a little jealous of your Dead Sea mud experience.

    <3 Lisa

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    1. Jordan is a very interesting and open country with a lot of history! What I hadn't thought of or didn't realize until I was there is how, because it is so open and welcoming, it has a massive number of refugees from surrounding unstable countries. It's really a melting pot of Arabic culture!

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  2. I WANT TO HEAR ABOUT PETRA KRISTIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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