Saturday, May 21, 2011

Journey to Jordan - Ajloun and Jerash

There was a bit of confusion when I came out here as to whom I belonged. There are two groups of BYU students out here: BYU interns and Zaytoon. There are about 7 BYU interns, all working with the Ministry of Social Development in one fashion or another. Zaytoon, on the other hand, is associated with BYU, yet semi-independent of any organization. All of its members just happen to be current or former BYU students. The BYU interns live across town; the Zaytoon people live in my neighborhood. Both groups thought I was from the other, so I think they were confused on how to include me (or if they should). I had to explain that I came from the U of U...and I came alone.

I tell you this because, though I live near and spend time with the Zaytoon fellows, the BYU interns are kind enough to include me as well. We had a delicious dinner at the girls' apartment on the other side of the city.

It was some mixture of meat and rice stuffed into zucchinis. The same combo was wrapped in grape leaves. Skeptical at first, I turned out to love the stuff and probably had way more than my share. It was great, and the company was even better.

There's a Marriott Hotel here. I walked in just to look around, and somehow ended up at the pool area. I'm sure I would have been able to take a swim without being challenged at all. I may need to go back and try it out.

One of my most favorite places in Portugal was Carrefour. It's a huge grocery store, comparable to Walmart, and it was always nice now and then to walk in and feel like I was home. Well, they have Carrefour here in a place called City Mall. It had been about 4 years since I last stepped into one and it was almost emotional. Imagine my response, then, when elsewhere in the mall I saw a Barrett family favorite:

This mall is great and rivals any mall in America that I know of.

Saturday a group of us hopped in a van and took off to see some sites. Destination: Ajloun castle. I wish I could tell you all the details and history about this place, but I can't. I can say, however, that it was an amazing place. There were so many different chambers and "secret" passages that after spending a few hours there I still am not sure we were able to see the whole thing. It sits atop a hill that gave an excellent vista in all directions. The location was obviously chosen in order to see any armies that may be approaching. Here are a few pictures...see for yourself:

Well, after the amazing castle at Ajloun, we packed back into the van to head to Jerash, a land of roman ruins. This place was intense - so many old structures. Pillars, arches, and articulate work was found all over the place. We spent several hours here as well. I don't know what else to say about it other than it was awesome!

Yes, those are Roman soldiers. Actual Roman soldiers.

In the amphitheater. You speak in one of these holes on one side and can hear the other person on the other.

Best bagpipers of all time. It started with one, then the other three joined. At one point a Scotsman stood with them to get a picture and they started playing "Yankee Doodle."

I have many more pictures, but hopefully that gives the idea of the place. It was incredible.

We really enjoyed ourselves.

Overall, the trip was great. I am sunburned now, but the experience was something that I'll never forget.


Barrett Family said...

AMAZING pictures! I love hearing about all your adventures. What an incredible experience. We had Carrefour in Argenina!!! Steph said she had it in Taiwan too. It was emotinal for her to see it too. Love our emotional ties to grocery stores.

Naters said...

Ok, the Mario Bro. movie is the best part! Ha ha! Are you the one humming the tune?

Tyler, Brooke, Britain and Braden said...

Love the pics! The Roman soldiers...that's awesome! What an adventure...enjoy!

Brady said...

No...I was doing the sound effects.

Brandon said...

Looks like you are having a fantastic experience! I'm super glad that you are figuring things out and getting to know the area and people.