Madaba Weekend

Trip Start Jan 30, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2011

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hello everyone, I know it has been awhile since I last spoke to you guys; I apologize I've been busy with school and whatnot.

Anyways, since I last talked to you guys I have visited Madaba, Mt. Nebo, Karak, and the Dead Sea. This little trip started last weekend when me and a few friends went to Madaba, cute little town about 40 minutes away from Amman, after classes on Thursday.  When we got there we had one of the best meals I have had here at a little restaurant outside the St. George church.  The waiters there were pretty amazing because they were completely booked for later that night but said if we could eat in an hour we could eat there.  We ate a bit of everything and I was so full afterward.   Once we paid we asked them where we could go smoke hookah, and one waiter took off his name tag and apron and took us down a few blocks to this amazing little shop.  At the hookah bar we were again welcomed with great hospitality.  Our waiter, who’s English was probably better than mine, asked us all about our stay and even pretended to have a little Arabic lesson with us.  It was really exciting to see everyone continue to be so nice.

 The next day we woke up early to visit St. George church that has the oldest surviving mosaic floor from the 6th century.  It an awe-inspiring experience to be in a place where people have worshipped for the past 1400 years.  Once we got back to our hotel we met up with other from our group who had already seen it and traveled to Mt. Nebo.  For those of you who don’t know, Mt. Nebo was where Moses stood and viewed the promise land.  After standing there, I can only image what a bittersweet experience that would have been because the view was beautiful and surreal yet, for Moses, it was the end of the line.   From Mt. Nebo you can literally see Jerusalem if it is clear.  Unfortunately there were a few clouds there that day (I plan on going again when it is warmer because they said there are no clouds then).   Anyway the view was astounding.  After Mt. Nebo we traveled to the Ma’in Hot Springs.  Here the differences between the cultures were very evident.  Back in the States, at a water park everyone will be in a bikini; however in Jordan, the guys were in swim trunks but the women were dressed in pants and shirts that they swam in.  Even though I had a shirt over my swim suit I felt like I was showing too much skin and was stared at.  The women didn’t even wear swim suits in the all women areas.  It was saddening to see them not be able to dress even in modest swim suits in the company of only women.   While I felt uncomfortable in this one experience, these women go through this their entire life.  It was definitely unfortunate to how limited women are here even in a place like a water park. 

The drive back to Amman was pretty amazing even with the events of that day still frustrating me.  Our car broke down which would usually only be a minor inconvenience but this turned into one of my favorite experiences here.  We were stopped outside of this Bedouin’s house for a few minutes just standing around waiting for the next car to come pick us up when all the sudden he comes up and offers us tea!  Can you image, a complete stranger just comes up and offers you tea because your car broke down in front of his house.  That would never happen in the States, I mean if you’re lucky someone would offer you their phone and maybe help if they knew anything about cars, but no one would invite you into their home for tea.  In his house we sat, in true Bedouin fashion, on cushioned floor and shared a glass of tea.  FYI: Bedouin tea is like sweet tea in the South only hot so of course I love it.  He even tried to feed us but our car had come so we had to leave.

The next day I went with CIEE to Karak and the Dead Sea.  Karak was a lot like the other castles I visited only bigger and I knew more about it because it was built and used in the Crusades.  It was like a maze in this castle and at the top of a huge hill; you could see so far on every side.  Afterward we went to a resort at the Dead Sea and swam.  I don’t know what I was expecting when I went there but it definitely wasn’t what I got.  You literally cannot sink; even swimming was difficult because your legs were automatically pushed above the water.   I honestly just floated for a little bit because I couldn’t swim anywhere.  Luckily I got used to it and was able to swim around eventually.   After getting the extremely salty water in my mouth and a few drops in my eyes, we found some mud and everyone from the program was putting mud on their skin.  I’m pretty sure my skin is still soft from the mud I put on over a week ago.  I will definitely visit it again before I leave.

Unfortunately I forgot my camera for both trips that weekend so I’m having to get pictures from my friends who remembered their cameras.  Other than those trips everything has been the same really.  My next post will be about the ghost of Dawar Waha because I’m pretty sure there is a ghost in apartment breaking things.  Anyways, I hope you are having a good day I will post another blog soon.
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