When I learned that we were going to be moving to the Middle East, I'd asked Aaron if we could go to Bethlehem for Christmas. Unfortunately, that isn't possible as it would make travel to other areas next to impossible. Instead, Aaron booked us for a 10 day trip to Jordan. I'm a bit embarrased at how ignorant I was about Jordan, especially regarding its history. I wasn't very excited. I was impressed by Queen Noor on the Daily Show and Colbert, but that's not enough of a reason to visit a country. Then I realized that the country Jordan shares a border with Israel and that border is the Jordan River. We were going to a place with biblical significance afterall. A view of the sun rising from our hotel window. Philip wakes us up early, but to see this makes it almost seem worthwhile.
Amman, the capital of Jordan has about 2.5 million residents, many of whom are Palestinian. Like Rome, it was a city built on 7 hills. Now there are about 20 hills within the greater city area. Driving in from the airport, Aaron and I wer impressed by how much the land looked like Italy. However, the city is much hillier and densely packed than any place we visited in Italy.
We took Philip for a long walk yesterday up and down many of those hills, all over this city, getting a taste for the town before our tour starts. Highlights of the day included having coffee with caramom from a street vendor, eating wonderful hummous and falafel,where for the 1st 15 minutes I was the only woman in the packed restaurant. (You can see a picture of Philip eating a falafel on my facebook page.)
We went to a Nature Conservatory that was at the top of one of the hills on Rainbow street. It was a pretty street.
Along this street we also found several bookstores. We went into one called The Good Book shop and were surprised that it was a Christian bookstore. I bought several Arabic books for Philip including one that is a picture book telling of the Prodigal Son.I love being in a place agin where you can see the history all around you.
We also visited Durat al Funun, a complex dedicated to contempory art, but which includes the remains of a 6th century Byzantine church. It's also know for being one of the places that TE Lawrence (of Arabia) lived.
We visited another art museum in the afternoon that had a really fascinating exhibit on the 3 Mosques in Jeruslam, Mecca and Median. About 20 artists were commissioned from mulitple Islamic countries to paint pictures of the mosques. We saw some really great interpretations.
Philip continues to make friends wherever we go, whatever his mood. Last night a relatively cranky Philip, who knew he should be in bed and not at dinner, still seemed to impress the Italian couple sitting near us. I pulled a little Italian out and was able to apologize, but they still thought he was cute.
Today, Philip, accurately used his new found waving skills, to say hello to a woman walking in the lobby. She came up and beginning chatting with us. Her son is 10 months old. She took Philip over to meet him and they played touch each others face for a bit. We went to lunch and on returning from lunch we ran into them again. She already knew that we were here from Kuwait, but also from California. We learned that she was from Israel.
She'd been worried that Philip was too cold, and I'd said tempature is relative. I was actually amused a bit yesterday as Aaron and I wondered around the city in a single layer long sleeve shirt and watched the natives wear multiple layers including sweaters and winter coats, plus goves, earmuffs and hats on occasion. The tempature yesterday was in the upper 50s or lower 60s. I might have wanted a coat if I wasn't hauling 22+lbs of Bubby all up and down town.