"And then there were few."
The summer has been very dynamic with many departures and arrivals. The Zaytoon group staggered their interns throughout the summer. Some have been here since April. Others were here for only 2 weeks. At one time there were about 16 of them here. Now that things are winding down there are but a few. So few, in fact, that they have consolidated all into one apartment. I am fortunate enough to be living in that apartment, though I have nothing (legally or internship-ly) to do with Zaytoon.
One of the interns who went home was kind enough to lend me her camera for the remaining three weeks. I'm glad she did, because if not, I wouldn't have been able to capture this:
Mansef. The traditional plate of Jordan. Me (with my buzzed head) and Skye (with his old-man goatee) traveled to Aghwar, an area to the south of Amman. We were their on behalf of the Ministry of Social Development to help with a training presentation. Afterwards, they provided lunch, hence the mansef. It's a rice-lamb combo with some sort of yogurt sauce all piled onto some tortilla-like flatbread. Delicious. Here's the best part: although they brought out some plates and spoons, only few were needed. Why? Because that's not how you eat mansef.
After this picture was taken, the men "dug in," as we say. They use nothing but their hands to scoop the rice into little piles and squish it into meatball sized balls. They do a few tosses in their hands and pop it into their mouths. It's pretty bizarre, actually, and seems primitive at first. But then you realize that these people grew up this way and it has worked their entire lives, so why change now? They are proud of their heritage, and eating mansef utensil-less is another small way of preserving that heritage. As for me, I used a spoon. Lame, I know, but that's how I roll.
I didn't shave for 2 or 3 weeks and had the acceptable beginnings of a beard. I wanted to try a stache because if Tom Selleck can do it, so can I. It lasted about 20 minutes before I shaved it off in shame. There really is something eerie about upper-lip hair.
Here's Tyler, Joel, Matt, and I waiting on Rainbow Street for this place to bring us our something-I-can't-remember-the-name-ofs.
Look at the size of this thing! It's a mosque near Jabal Hussein that is beautiful from the outside. We haven't been able to go inside yet, but this is one of the prettier mosques around Jordan. Most have green neon lights on the outside because that was the Prophet Mohammed's favorite color.
Yesterday I spent a typical tourist day in Amman. We went downtown, visited Book@cafe, ate at Hashem's, and saw some sites. This is a food market that I think is fun. If you look closely you can see someone making a face at me. Apparently he didn't like me taking the picture.
Then we went to see the Roman Coliseum in the middle of the city. I've seen it before but was never able to actually go in. It's overwhelming to see this huge structure carved into the rock, and I like to imagine it full of people ready for a show or presentation. Those stairs get steep.
I have just under three weeks left. Most of my remaining nights will be in a room with this painted all over the wall:
an evil image of Winnie the Pooh. I'll be tired when I get home...