Thursday, November 22, 2012

School surroundings

Above is the local mosque right by our school.  The call of prayer is heard 3 times a day whilst we are at school.  I love the one that goes off at lunch time when the children are playing outside.  I think it is great that young, international children are being exposed to such a different way of life.  One time, I was on duty and I saw a little girl go on her knees and pray. It was super cute.  When I asked a local Jordanian what she was doing, she told me that it was unusual to see children pray as they haven't grasped the idea of Islam or religion just yet or they are not 'into it'.

One thing that is slightly annoying about the mosque is the noise level.  They CRANK it up!  But it is still nice to hear.

I saw this herder and thought I'd take a snap shot, little did I know that he had a whole herd of goats with him!  I don't know how normal it is in Amman to have so many goats, but this shepherd had lots.

Our Boab

In Amman, most residential buildings have a guard called the 'Boab'.  Our Boab's name is Saed and he is LOVELY! He goes out of his way to help us.  He washes our car - everyday!  He gets us water and carries the heavy bottle for us.  He'll do absolutely anything we ask of him :-)  Thankfully, for him, we can't speak a word of Arabic and he can't speak a word of English so we don't ask much from him.  Even if we could speak Arabic, we wouldn't ask him to do stuff for us, but our neighbour, Jack, tells us that we should because that's what we pay him for.  Well, the school pays for him, not us.  Robert and I are pretty independent and we like to do things for ourselves.

Saed is Egyptian.  I don't know his story or how long he has lived in Amman.  There are many Egyptians here in Amman, and I presume they come here for work.  On our way to school every morning, there is a corner, just off a round-a-bout and there are hundreds of Egyptian workers lining up to get a morning job.  One day I'll take a picture of it because it is quite the sight.

Al Bustan - Lebanese Restaurant

Last night, we went to a new restaurant that our friend, Theron recently found.  It is a Lebanese place and serves the tastiest food we've had since being in Amman.  However, the place was incredibly smoky with people smoking cigarettes and the hubbly bubbly (Hookah).  I didn't think it was affecting me much, but this morning, I am coughing.  The food was worth it though :-)

Don't know the name of this dish, but it was  yum!

The bread was fresh and the best I've had!

Can you figure out this bill?  Neither could I?

Monday, November 12, 2012

First rainbow in Amman

I recently attended an international maths specialists conference in The Hotel Bristol, Amman.  On the last day, just after lunch, we were settling into word problems and dividing fractions and decimals - fun!  I needed to stretch my legs because I had been sitting down for quite some time.  As I wandered over to the window, I looked out and saw the fattest rainbow.  Now, as you all know, I get very excited when I see rainbows!  I cried out, "WOW, everyone! Come and look!"  I completely distracted everyone!. All the other maths specialists jumped out of their chairs and started to take pictures.  The instructor could only laugh.  I apologised for being so disruptive, but I think it was worth it.

I'm the goofy one in the middle.
....and now it is raining - lots!   Which is great for Amman and her water reserves.  Not great for this elementary school teacher who will have students inside, all day, for 7 long hours!  Thank goodness for Lego and paint!

The Dead Sea

Weird, weird, weird!  That's how I would describe the sensation of floating in the Dead Sea!  It requires a lot of core strength which, frankly, I don't have.  Robert was fine and loving it, but it was hard work for me so I stayed in for a couple of minutes and got out.  I don't know.  Maybe I was doing it wrong,  After all, aren't you just supposed to lay back and float?  Maybe I was thinking about it too much.

They recommend that you don't shave because the salt water stings the recently shaven area.  Also when you go into the Dead Sea, you'll discover cuts you never knew you had.  I had a tiny little cut on my knee and boy did it hurt!  So as well as lacking in core strength to keep me afloat, I also had a little, tiny, baby cut on my knee - I'm such a wuss!

The one thing I did enjoy was the mud slapping.  That was great fun and great for the skin!


Get your mud on!

Robert and Spencer slapping on the mud!  Such fun :-)

The Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth.  It has been called many names such as, 'stinking sea' and 'salt sea'.  A Greek traveller first gave it its current name as he noticed that the water couldn't support life.  The high salinity of the water is due to the fact that the sea has no outlet and the high temperatures evaporate the fresh water more quickly than it is replenished.  Also, due to the intensive irrigation that occurs in the Jordan Valley, the sea is shrinking.  Environmentalists believe that the this sea will in fact, die away. So if you want to experience this strange feeling, come soon before it evaporates altogether!

That's the state of Israel in the distance.

One of the nicest parts of being at the Dead Sea is observing the sunset over Israel.  It was quite magical to watch all the lights come on in the distance and to think, my goodness, I can see a Biblical land.  We were all happy to be sitting on the Jordanian side, purely because we had the best view of the sunset :-)  We ended our float in the Dead Sea with a nice, large cold beer, feeling chilled out and quite sleepy.  We're looking forward to going back there again and the best thing about it is that we can!  It's only a 45 minute drive from Amman.  There are all kinds of spas and pampering places.  We may have to indulge every month or so to wind down and treat ourselves.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The rest of Petra

Petra is HUGE!  It took us about 2 days to truly discover it and even then, I think we skipped certain areas. We did a lot of climbing and going off the beaten track.  We found stray cats and kittens, I had sweet tea with a Bedouin lady who tried to sell me some silver and then insulted everyone, we rode on donkeys up steep stairs and we managed to avoid all the massive crowds.  All in all, it was a fun two days and I was so proud of my lungs.  This time last year, I could't walk up a flight of stairs and now I can climb up ancient rocks - thank you prednisone, but also thank you dry, warm air.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Treasury

This part of Petra is the most photographed, the most anticipated, and the pride and joy of Petra.  It is a beautiful monument!  It was carved in the 1st century BC as a tomb for an important Nabataean King.  It's facade is 30m wide and 43m high.  It is pretty spectacular up close and made me think about ancient peoples and how very different life is today.