Two guys smoking hookah at sunset overlooking Palestine. The picture was taken at Mount Nebo, where Moses saw the promised land according to the Bible’s Old Testament. It is so interesting to see from above what three religions consider the holy land to be far in the distance.
Some Corinthian columns from Jerash. I find it so crazy that we can walk around and touch
everything that romans did. Jerash is considered “the Pompeii of the Middle East” because it is one of the most well preserved sites of roman architecture outside of Italy.
My horse and I at the stables in the mountainous outskirts of Amman. I came here with my language partner and my roommate. It was nice to get away from the noisiness of the city and ride on something other than a car that always feels like it’s about to crash from the crazy Amman traffic.
A picture of King Hussain II’s racing car in Jordan’s Royal Automobile Museum. It was so
cool to see the history of Jordan through the evolution of the royal family’s car collection
because it was something different from typical architecture.
Some tea we were offered from a shop owner in downtown Madaba. We thought it would be a quick drink in a plastic or paper cup. Boy we were wrong. The owner brought out the tables, chairs, and even mosaic cups before we sat and talked to him for two hours. Trips are always so different when you interact with the locals.
A picture of my friend and I laughing on a mountain road below mount Nebo. By the time we got there, the park was closed, but we got an even better view from where we were standing here thanks to our taxi driver. Little did we know we would get more tea with his family at his house. In the distance, you can see the Dead Sea.
My language partner cutting roses for us from her grandmother’s garden in the outskirts of Jordan. Her house reminded me of the one my father would tell me in stories. The olive trees, the high tan-colored stone walls, and of course the blazing sun. I felt like I was living in his days in Iraq.
The maqlooba my friend and I made at a local cooking class near rainbow street. The center we did it in offers community culture classes to members of the local community, especially for foreigners here for study or work. I got to meet students and workers from Italy, France, Germany, Palestine, and America while cooking the most well-spiced food I’ve ever eaten.
A picture taken in Old Signs of Amman Museum in Wast Al Balad. This was another cool
way I got to see Amman’s past. Because of my love of graphic art and Arabic Calligraphy, the diversity of print, line, and color was nothing but inspirational.
The CET group and I in front of Petra. Taking AP Art History my sophomore year of high
school, I had learned about Petra and Jordan. I had seen other AP art pieces behind closed
glass, but here in jordan, it was out in the open for me to see with no glare.
And I thought riding horses was fun. The three dinar bargaining for a camel ride was way
The 4 x 4s caught in action at Wadi Rum. We weren’t in Kansas anymore that’s for sure.
Maybe except for the dry heat. It was so fun to see other jeeps drive by and see my other
classmates clapping along to Arabic music.
This one almost looks like a seen out of Star Wars, minus the two moons. My classmates
and I hiked up a sand dune with no shoes. Getting to walk around bare foot with no fear of
Florida bugs and dirt was nice I will say. Shortly after, we ran down the sand dune without a care in the world.
Before this picture, I didn’t know an iPhone was able to take pictures like this, stars and all.
Oh, and, is that the milky way? Yes! I practically screamed when I saw what 10 second
exposure and a flash can do for a nigh sky. I could take the milky way home to Swaifieh with me.
Dabke caught in action around the campfire. This is a dance I can actually do! Dabke is ten
times more fun with the live music of an oud and a guitar. The night of Wadi Rum, we partied this way until 12.
Another star picture captured on an iPhone. This time with my kafieh in Jordanian colors.
This is what I fell asleep under. My father used to tell me stories of sleeping on the roof of his house in Baghdad and the last thing he saw before he closed his eyes were the stars above him. Now I can say that I had done the same.
A sparkling picture of the red sea during golden hour. When in the Middle East, golden hour hits different.
A shot of underwater, coral, land, and sky my friend Kelly captured on her GoPro. Pretty
amazing that you can see all of it at once. More than 100 species inhabit the corals of Aqaba. I would say so with all of those colors.
A picture of my lemon and mint ice-cream to ease the humid heat of Aqaba evenings in
downtown. The lemon and mint drink is a common in summer, along with hot tea of course.
The Aqaba Fortress, dating back to the 16th century (byzantine empire). A large majority of its structure was lost during World War I in the battle of Aqaba amongst the Arab revolt. The castle is located close to the Arab revolt flag, which can be seen from Saudi Arabia.
During Eid break, my friends and I took a trip to the Dana Preserve, where we saw at least
three different ecosystems in one hike. This mountainside is located in Wadi Ghuweir, about 4 kilometers into our 8+ hour hike. We also camped there, I recommend staying in a hut, its homier somehow 🙂
A picture of a rock we climbed that was nothing less than vertical, just like the rest of our
day one hike. We climbed this rock in order to see a Nabatean dwelling filled with writings. An archeologist’s treasure chest.
My favorite part of the hike is pictured here. I loved to see bits of greenery in between
patterns of rock and water. The wadi provided a large amount of shade but enough sun to see the glimmering of water on plants and stone. The only way you can see these parts of the wadi is if you take the time and energy hike it.
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The past few weeks have been full of adventure I never could have imagined in the states. I am definitely one to love the outdoors, but even more so when it’s not full of the Florida heat and humidity that came with long hours of marching band. Being in Jordan is a major contrast I will say. I look back at pictures from a week ago here, and it feels like another lifetime. You would think that the Middle Eastern concept of time is usually a little behind schedule (a benefit for me) but time and experiences move so fast here.
Yet between the capturing of pictures you would find me making rushed vocab lists of newly discovered Arabic words in an Uber or trying (key-word trying) to convince another Jordanian that I’m from here with my ever-so-slightly improving accent. Between all the excitement and adventure there is a lot of thinking. Thinking about high school. Thinking about Georgetown. And thinking about what will be different when I return, and if I will be different. I miss my instruments, but making music is made up for by the rhythm and tone of Arabic, whether it is dialect or MSA.
I appreciate the differing ways of life here. The silence of the Al-Nawatef Camp far from a city. The boiling of hot water on a fire made from dry wood. I would never think to bring a whole tea pot on a hike, despite my addiction to tea. Maybe that is something I will bring back to America. Here, hot tea is refreshing (Anything is true if you put your mind to it).