Monday, January 19, 2015

Jesus and Nemo go to Jordan

Hello friends. We spent Thanksgiving in Jordan. We went with our friends Chris and Florrie, who went with their friends, Pete and Chris who went with their friends, Bob and Patty. This area of the world has a special place in my heart. It was an interesting trip, and of course it’s always wonderful to be with friends.   We are going to start out with food pictures so those of you who want to get back at Florrie for poking fun at you when you post food pictures can get that out of the way! Before we left for Jordan our friend Chris sent us this list of foods we should try:

I am happy to say we ate everything through zarb, and one of the deserts, harissa. There are excellent descriptions of all of these meals in the link.


This was the mensaf, a scrumptious meal which has the honor of being Jordan’s national dish. As you can see we took the communal eating part to heart. We enjoyed the meal and the surroundings so much that the owner insisted we come back the next day so that he could prepare two more well known Jordanian dishes. He promised to make small servings of each since they are traditionally full meals on their own and we couldn’t decide which we’d rather try.


This is maqluba (upside down) and schwarma both delicious meals and worthy of being national dishes. The second night at this restaurant we were treated to a one man Jordanian ‘Def Jam’. We laughed so hard our cheeks hurt!


This meal was zarb, a special dish cooked under the desert sands and eaten in an open air tent. We had our zarb in Wadi Rum.


Right before leaving Jordan we decided that we had to check out what a Jordanian McDonalds had to offer. This has become a sort of tradition for us when we travel.

Of course none of us travel just to eat and this blog is supposed to be about our adventures so let me tell you more about our trip.

We arrived in Amman Jordan in the evening, had dinner and went to bed knowing we’d be seeing our friends in the morning. After a leisurely breakfast our driver arrived and we all headed out to Jerash which is about 50 kilometers north of Amman in Gilead. It’s one of the largest and best preserved Roman sites outside of Italy. As you know Nemo, Chris, Florrie, and I have spent many years in Italy, but we tried to appreciate the site even though it was rainy and cold. Here is link with a little information if you are interested.

Florrie actually had to pay for that silly raincoat, hopefully she’ll remember to bring it along next time she goes exploring.


This was interesting, we actually ran into a mini band in Jerash and they had a bagpiper. Florrie took this picture for our friend Rod Weeks who is a bagpiper extraordinaire!


Here is a link in case you want to read more about Rod:

After Jerash we headed back to the van and our driver took us to the Dead Sea with one little stop along the way.


We were not able to go down to the water but it was still very moving for some of us to be here. Some extraordinarily important people have been here before Nemo and me.



Chris loved the Dead Sea he would have been happy to spend hours bobbing around. It was not possible to swim there because you floated so much. I decided not to show off my special water skills as I didn’t want to make the gang jealous.

After our adventures in Jerash and the Dead Sea we headed to our hotel in the town of Petra. The next morning we had breakfast and then headed out to Petra where our wonderful driver left us in the hands of a very capable guide. Petra was the highpoint of the trip for Florrie. She has wanted to visit the treasury there since the first time she saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  Here is a link so you can learn more about this fascinating city.

Petra was founded around the 6th century BC by the Nabataean Arabs. For many centuries it was the meeting point of the main routes used by camel caravans transporting spices between the Mediterranean and the Near East, Africa and India. P1050777

Do you know why this building is called The Treasury? See that round sculpture at the top of the building with the little jar like sculpture on top of it? The locals thought that the ancients who had built the place hid coins or gold in the jar.


When we first got to ancient Petra we were given the opportunity to ride horses to the site but decided to walk. This man was hurrying to get a horse for someone else.




To get to the ancient city of Petra you first have to walk through the Siq, a narrow gorge like area of about two kilometers. There are many interesting things to see on this walk. Walking through the Siq we saw;

Walking through the Siq we saw;

An old dam and some worn out steps,

more steps, some without a destination,


djinn blocks, believed to have housed Djinn, a type of spirit, but more likely monuments to the dead,



more tombs,


niches for gods,



an elephant


old sculptures, see the bottom half of a person, another set of feet, and the belly and neck of a camel,

and part of an ancient road.

And last but not least, our view of the treasury as we got closer and closer.

Here’s Nemo and me enjoying the scenery around the treasury.



P1060025We insisted on riding camels around, it was fun but very uncomfortable


After a full and exciting day we headed back to our hotel so that we could prepare for our next days trip to the desert.



Wadi Rum had some amazing rock formations, some of them reminded us of those wet sand castles that are so much fun to make on the beach.


Orence (Lawrence) of Arabia is still remembered fondly here and we visited some of the places he visited.


We met some interesting small creatures, as you know I love them all.


We did some amazing climbing.DSCN9476



Including through this crevasse where we saw some very old writing.


Wadi Rum has been inhabited by various cultures since prehistoric times, at least for the last since 4,500 BC. Here is a link if you would like to learn more:


We had a nice lunch where we learned that the Bedouin love tuna and cheese. We also watched the sunset over the desert and noticed that it did get quite a bit colder after that.

As it got dark we headed to our camp. That is our home for the night right behind us.


When we got there our dinner wasn’t quite ready so we hung out in this large tent with a very smoky fire pit. This is where we learned that our friend Karen was spot on when she said sage tea was delicious!

Unfortunately Florrie drank so much of it that she had to get up more than once in the cold, dark night. Fortunately the desert was so dark that Florrie saw more starts than she has seen since leaving Iceland.


Nemo and I went out for a walk in the morning. Nemo was a little concerned about the great creatures running around, but I told him that just like the small ones I loved them all. This was actually the beginning of our last day in Jordan as our place was leaving at 1:00 in the morning.


We headed back to Jordan where we saw Chris’s favorite story. Guess what else we saw?


Yep, more ruins! The world is full of ruins! We are so lucky!


Last, but far from least, we had dinner with some old friends from Gaeta. Life is funny, you saw good-bye to people never knowing where or when they will come back into your life.

We are back in Sicily now. Ma`a as-salama, until we come back to tell you about our Christmas trip.

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