Mt. Nebo & Mataba

Trip Start Aug 03, 2007
Trip End Aug 01, 2008

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Flag of Jordan  ,
Friday, September 21, 2007

Time for another weekend and that means an adventure with the group. The group is made up of new teachers out exploring the area in and around Amman. This week it was me, the Wheeler's, Eric(music), Keesha(2nd0 and Terry(2nd). We departed about 9:30 and had to go to Starbucks first for coffee. Since it is Ramadan, only the drive through is open at the Abdoun Starbucks which is about 10 minutes and several speed bumps from the Wheeler's. But always, first things first!!!

Today's destination-Mt. Nebo and Mataba

Mt. Nebo is on the way to the Dead Sea and took about an hour to get to. Just a little history-this is where Moses is said to have seen the promised land. He died and is said to be buried here but not sure of the exact location. The first church was built in the 4th century AD but what we see today was built around the 6th century AD. Going inside and seeing the mosaics on the floor was amazing! I will probably use that word alot but I can't think of anyother word to use. There was a mass going on while we were there and that was a cool experience. There is also the sculpture at the point of the ruins. While you stand there, you can see the Dead Sea, Jericho, the Jordan Valley, and Israel. They say you can see Jerusalem on a clear day-we weren't that lucky! We also checked out the new muesum that has some cool artifacts and maps inside it.

On our way to Mataba, we stopped at a mosaic tourist stop. As we walked in, there were women working on replicating ancient mosaics using the authentic colors of the old ones. It was amazing to watch and man, were there some beautiful pieces! The owner greeted us and when told where we lived & worked, we were given the "local" price-no tourist prices for us. :-) They also had a good selection of the local pottery, carpets, and even tackier tourist trinkets. We all made our purchases and then got a recommendation for lunch in Mataba from the owner.

We ate at this great craft center/restaurant-Haret Jdoundna and it is an old restored home. It was a lot of fun and cheap food but really good food. I had tabbouleh(no bulgar), olives, and a meat filled dumpling along with fresh squeezed orange juice for about 7JD/$10. Everybody ordered different things and shared so it was a lot of fun to try a bunch of different foods and flavors. We all agreed that we would go back there again!

Next stop was St. George's Orthodox Church to see the mosaic map on the floor. As I walked into the church, I felt like I was actually at sevices at St. Geroge's in St. Paul-it had the same smell and was familiar. The mosaic was uncovered in 1864 and was once a clear map of all the major biblical sites between Egypt and Lebanon all in Greek. It was made around AD 560 and had more than 2 million pieces! What a site! On the pulpit stand was the service book of a Greek Orthodox service in Arabic. I would love to go to services there-maybe Greek easter in April.

What amazes me as I go to these historic and cultural sites is the lact of security and protection of these places. While at Mt. Nebo and at St. George's the only thing between you and the mosaics is a rope or church pews moved around it. There are also no people watching or guarding it. It was the same way at Jerash where you probably could have walked off with pieces as the "security" was at the end of the arched gate.

There were large groups of tour buses at both places with a multitude of languages being spoken. I think we were the only English speaking people around but wow! We got back to Amman and everybody went home.

But the day was not done-it is Quiz Knight at the Grenadier Pub in Swefiyah! I picket up Anita and off we went. Our team this week was Anita, me, Melissa(science), Steve & Lisa(principal & 5th), and Leslie(PreKG). The team name this week was "Stevie's Angels". We have been ACS and the Scorpians and have taken 3rd with those names. It is a lot of fun! There are 7 rounds of questions, 1 joker to double your points once, and hopefully a lot of knowledge at your table! This week there were 5 other teams. After each round, you swap your answer sheet with the table near you and you correct the answers and then there is a running total of points. While playing you also order dinner-I had the fish and chips and a beer and laugh. The teams are quite competitive and of course, none of us are light weights in that department either! At the end of the night, we came in 2nd-3/4of a poing behind the winners. Our prize was a nice size Tobblerone bar instead of free beer and the chance at the prize box. The winning team's person that went to the prize box won a round trip ticket to Lebanon.

Got home around 11 and crashed!
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