Rawḑ Umm Zuwaytīnah

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    • Day6

      Jordan miscellany

      November 26, 2021 in Jordan ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

      There is a lot to see in Jordan. To try to do the country justice, I've decided to gather together some more or less random pictures and impressions of the country.
      The 1st picture is of the River Jabbok. This river is where scripture tells us Jacob went to meet his brother Esau after their long separation. In fact, I was told that this is the very place.
      The 2nd picture looks at the Jordanian landscape. Of note here is the road way down below. It is the road we were traveling. It is also the King's Highway. This is s major trade route from western Arabia through the middle east to Damascus and beyond. This is the route controlled by the Nabataeans with their capital in Petra (see other posts).
      The 3rd picture is in a mosaic workshop. The artists here are all disabled in various ways. Their work is exquisite.
      The 4th picture is in a church in Madaba. The picture is a floor mosaic map of the middle east, showing all the important cities of the region. The church was built around the mosaic; even columns were sited where the the original tesserae are missing.
      The 5th picture is a wood fired bread oven. Look closely and you'll see that the bread dough is stretched like pizza dough and then placed directly on the superheated stones that make up the floor of the oven. Really good bread baked in a way that is new to me.
      Last but not least is a Thanksgiving turkey dinner prepared using Jordanian cooking and spices. It was outstanding and a real treat to celebrate the holiday in a new and cosmopolitan way. Right up my alley.
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    • Day9

      Apr 10 - Off to Amman, Jordan

      April 10, 2018 in Jordan ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

      The mission for today was to navigate our way to the tour group in Amman, Jordan. Amman is the capital of Jordan and its largest city. The tour is being run by Biblical Journeys Canada, a company with whom I have travelled twice previously. Bob, once again, graciously ferried us across Dubai to the airport which is a navigation minefield with all the construction that is underway. We got checked in and then hiked 20 minutes to our departure gate. Doug noticed that there are no overhead squawking announcements - you know the ones that can't be understood - looking for tardy passengers or changing gate locations. I wondered if it's because such announcements would disturb the Muslim prayers that take place 5 times per day. The airport is spotlessly clean, just like the malls, with cleaners every where. We resisted the urge to buy high end electronics, expensive perfumes or sparkly jewelry while we waited. The flight left on time and it was a smooth ride. I watched "The Greatest Showman" - the story of P.T. Barnum. It's an interesting story but you have to wade through a lot of singing and dancing to get to the meat of the story.

      After a flight of 2,022 km, we arrived in Amman, Jordan at 5:00 p.m. local time - we gained an hour because we crossed into another time zone. There was a representative there from NET (Near East Tours) with which Biblical Journeys Canada is associated. He scurried us through passport control rather than having us wait in the long regular lineup. Because we checked in nice and early in Dubai, our luggage was amongst the last to come off the conveyor belt. The NET representative rustled up our driver and off we all headed to Amman. He jumped out halfway to look after other clients and left us in Ahmed's capable hands.

      Our first impression of Jordan is that it is much greener than Dubai - in fact it gets about 3 times as much rain as Dubai. There are trees and shrubs and grass almost everywhere and they don't appear to be surviving solely because of intensive irrigation. We were tickled to see goats grazing among the olive trees in a grove, and then two camels tied to a fence beside a rough tent and then sheep munching the grass on one of the many soft, rolling hills. Then we saw an enormous IKEA warehouse. Talk about blending the old and the new ways of life. The tallest building that we saw was a great, whopping 10 stories. Most buildings are quite simple and are about 4-6 stories high. What a huge difference from Dubai where taller/bigger/more impressive is the order of the day.

      Ahmed safely delivered us to our hotel. Oddly enough, our baggage had to be scanned before we could go into the hotel, but our knapsacks didn't have to be scanned. Huh?? While we got checked in, I realized that the cluster of people near us was our tour group.

      Our traveling companions for the next 10 days will be: Paul and Cathy Jones, Fr. Paul Bossi, Frances and Ron Robertson, Rod McQuillan, Sharon Noland, Marilyn Shaw, Dee Murphy, Toni Brown, Lynne Skowronski, George Riedel.

      Frances and I met in our first week of university in 1972. Marilyn and I had the pleasure of traveling together to the Holy Land last year.

      We got cleaned up and joined the rest of the group for a lovely buffet dinner. The only disappointment - you have to pay for water! Huh?? We skipped the water. We have a 6:00 a.m. wake up call tomorrow, with breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and departure at 7:30 a.m. We will be exploring Amman and then heading to Petra tomorrow.

      Here's some information about Jordan, once again shamelessly pirated from Wikipedia:

      Jordan, officially The Hashemite Kingdom (Hashemite is the name of the royal family) of Jordan is a sovereign Arab state in western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Jordan is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north, Israel and Palestine to the west. The Dead Sea lies along its western borders and the country has a small shoreline on the Red Sea in its extreme south-west, but is otherwise landlocked. It has just one port - Aqaba on the Red Sea. Aqaba is a popular vacation spot for Jordanians because of its water access. Jordan is strategically located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe. The capital, Amman (population 1.35 million), is Jordan's most populous city as well as the country's economic, political and cultural centre.

      The official language of Jordan is Arabic (no prepronderance of English here as we saw in Dubai). Arabs make up 98% of the population 1% Circassians and 1% Armenians. 95% of the population follows Islam with 4% Christianity and 1% the Bahai faith. The 2017 population of Jordan is just over 10 million. It was established as an emirate in 1921 and gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1946 and established its own constitution in 1952. Its monarch is Abdullah II and its Prime Minister is Hani Al-Mulki. The country is a constitutional monarchy, but the king holds wide executive and legislative powers.

      Jordan remains to be considered as among the safest of countries in the Middle East, even after the deteriorating situation of the region following the Arab spring in 2010s. Jordan prides itself on being an "oasis of stability" in a turbulent region. In the midst of surrounding turmoil, it has been greatly hospitable, accepting refugees from almost all surrounding conflicts as early as 1948. An estimated 2.1 million Palestinian and 1.4 million Syrian refugees are present. The kingdom is also a refuge to thousands of Iraqi Christians fleeing persecution by ISIL. While Jordan continues to accept refugees, the recent large influx from Syria has placed substantial strain on national resources and infrastructure.

      The tourism sector is considered a cornerstone of the economy, being a large source of employment, hard currency and economic growth.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Rawḑ Umm Zuwaytīnah, Rawd Umm Zuwaytinah

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