To Irbid?

Trip Start Mar 21, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Syria  ,
Thursday, March 13, 2008

When the day began, if someone told me that it would end in Irbid, Jordon, I would have first asked them where Irbid was, then next asked why someone would go there, then wonder how it would all happen.

The bus from Damascus stopped at the Roman city ruins in the center of town.  Here, I walked around the colonnaded streets and the amphitheatre, which could hold thousands of spectators.  Some of the stone seats, with curving back supports still survived as did many columns, and the entire solid basalt structure.  Imagining the seats full of Bosra's citizens being entertained wasn't too difficult, as late afternoon clouds moved quickly overhead.

Around the corner, I found a roasted chicken restaurant and ordered a meal as the sun set.  At this point, I decided to continue towards Jordan and found a minibus to Deera.  In Deera, I could stay or go, but nothing kept me so I found a shared taxi with another Syrian to Ramtha in Jordan, helping the driver to smuggle a few packs of cigarettes to a Ramtha convenience store, free trade being a myth for the regular people of this world (two packs maximum).

At the border crossing, Jordanian guards checked all compartments of the taxi, banged on the roof and sides, took out the seats and trunk parts.  They were thorough and friendly.  Soon I had a Jordanian visa and we were in Ramtha, where we dropped the cigarettes.  The taxi driver said good bye to us with traditional Middle Eastern kisses on the cheeks and a handshake.  From Ramtha, I continued to Irbid with the other Syrian, not really knowing where I was going. 

Around midnight, however, I found a hotel with the help of a taxi driver who didn't want to charge me anything and friendly college kids, who were everywhere in this University town.  The town was full of cafes and fast food joints, including McDonald's, and students enjoyed the night together and were eager to talk to me. 

Sometimes it's good not knowing where you are, as you can interact with the locals more and take paths you not normally would take.  I mean Irbid isn't really on the map of places to be or see in Jordan.
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