Friday, May 22, 2015

Jordan (part 1) Street Life

We fled the Arabian Gulf of Qatar to go north last week--to the land of Lawrence of Arabia, Petra, crusader castles, the Dead Sea, Roman ruins, and Biblical sites. Jordan, a country about the size of the state of Maine, USA, is almost a landlocked country. But the borders luckily include the port of Aqaba in the Red Sea in the south. It is surrounded by Palestine/Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. Amman, the capital, was once named Philadelphia or "The City of Brotherly Love." True to it's ancient name, it is a vibrant, embracing city of hospitality--showing off gleaming skyscrapers, along with a well preserved Roman amphitheater in the center of the city. Stony, pocked stairs can lead to old ruins, and even caves underneath the city. Jordan has a sense of place, a confidence that it can mix the old and the new.

Above all, Jordan is a place where people are optimistic, hospitable, and peaceful. We found new friends who tenderly loved their families, and welcomed us into their own homes. Jordan felt like home in just a few days because of the warm Arabic hospitality. Here are some views of a beautiful, verdant land that artfully blends the modern and ancient--a place where olive orchards, agricultural fields, and wild flowers lure the visitor to want to linger for a long time:

A grandmother smiling proudly at her grandchildren. The boy in the green clothes had just lovingly led her down the steps.

A spread of collected nuts for sale on the street.

A food truck, Jordan style, on Rainbow Street in Amman.
  1. Here is the owner of the shop called WeRollUFill. They wrap a thin Hungarian pastry on a rolling pin, with large pin, like a skewer through it. When I told him I would put him in my blog, he invited all to come to taste this delectable East European pastry. You can fill it with eggs and spinach or something sweet, like nutella.  Salimann's shop is on Rainbow Street in Amman, Jordan. He is waiting for you.

Five guitarists jamming on a corner in Amman, Jordan.

A storeowner making falaffels.

The streets were filled with a festive weekend air.

If you go to Amman, you must go to a restaurant called Zorba's. Why? Because there is a cave, tombs, and artifacts that were randomly discovered under the premises about 20 years ago during a renovation. Clay vessels, tablets, and various sculptures were found on the shelves in the cave. 
This is a picture of a tomb that was found under the restaurant.

Small shops and markets are perched around many corners of the road. They are convenience stores for any potential passerbyers.   

Early in the morning the farmers were bringing their harvest to sell at this stall on the side of the road.

Sometimes there is no stall, but people just sell their fruit and vegetables from their trucks.
A baker rolling the bread dough, and preparing to bake it in the ovens.

Bakers making the large flat Arabic bread that is eaten with cheese, olives, and tomatoes.

Abu, our friend, who just bought some bread for us.

Chickens for sale next to the bakery

A typical street scene in Amman, with a mineret pointed to the sky.

Pictures of King Abdullah II in his various roles cover Jordan. He has been known to canvas his country incognito, with a fake wig and beard to really see the country that he reigns. After visiting hospitals, markets, and schools, he said, "I fear being isolated and not knowing what is really going on so I must visit my country in disguise." After his ascension to the throne, modernization and sprawling urbanization has taken place. 

Sweet varieties of Arabic pastries.

A large bakery with gelato, pastries, and candies for the willing customer

A young man making sugar cane juice at his stall. 

Some Bedouin woman selling their wares on the street. 

The storefront of a perfume store with a father and son.
As we drove by, we saw many Syrian refugees waiting in lines for documents. At this time, Jordan provides a home for refugees from neighboring Iraq and Syria. It is difficult to say the exact number, but there are 1.5 to 3 million refugees in Jordan. 

Young girls walking to school at about 7:30 in the morning in Madaba, Jordan. Orchards of olive trees hugged the roads, with seas of wheat fields intermingled n the trees.

Young boys walking to school with heavy backpacks. The government of Jordan heavily funds education to a tune of 20%.

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