Saturday, June 6, 2009
A good day in Jordan
Today I went to Umm Qais, Ajlun and Jerash. The hotel organized the tour, really it was a driver in a rented car, me and 2 other people. The others were a couple from Barcelona, although the man is originally Austrailian. Nice down to earth people. We started by driving to Umm Qais, quite close to the Syrian border. We went through a couple military check points along the way. The guards only really looked at our passports one time. The other places the driver showed ID and they waved us through.
At Umm Qais there are ruins of a Roman city and an Ottoman era village. I think the best thing was the drive, we got to see the hills of northern Jordan and the Golan Heights. Then to Ajlun, which was built as a military look out and defense point by Saladin's nephew about 1184. They chose the highest point around for obvious reasons so the views are as impressive as the building. Although the fact that these buildings have survived so many years is pretty cool. Stone in the desert is pretty durable.
Jerash is a big site. An arch was built in AD 129 for a visit by Emperor Hadrian. There is a hippodrome that's very well preserved. A temple for Zeus, a theatre, colonnaded street, a cathedral, it seems to go forever. The modern town of Jerash has grown up around the ruins. It reminds me of Joe's famous picture of the pyramids through the pizza hut window. There are homes very close and some of the columns are on a street that's used for cars. The stones of the main walkway show grooves from carts.
No scat today, but thistles, bees and beetles instead. I took pictures in the W.C. in Umm Qais. The ceiling above the sinks is open and some sort of climbing plant is all along the wall. Beautiful. We started out at 8:30 and got back about 6:30. I'm pooped. I think I'll explore Amman tomorrow. I checked out the birds here at breakfast. Their cages were out on the balcony for fresh air. One is a big green parrot. The other 2 look more like parokeets. They had a hard boiled egg in their cage along with the usual seed and water. I watched for a little while and the momma left her nest and went to get some egg to feed her baby. I hadn't seen the little one before, she mostly sits on him. But he's awful cute. I miss my critters.