Friday, December 23, 2022

Kingdom of Jordan: Good Mosaics, Terrible Beer

We had a hoot in Jerusalem but we had some more countries to explore.

I liked the style of Eyal Hotel by Smart Hotels. Kind of fun and modern.

Our tour left from a hostel. We got there a little early and so did some wandering.

I never really considered that Ben & Jerry were probably Jewish, but they were a prominent American brand presence in Israeli stores.

"The seal's design consists of a shield with the Lion of Judah flanked on either side by olive branches and superimposed on a stylized background representing the Western Wall. Above the main display is the Hebrew-language word for Jerusalem (ירושלים‎‎, Yerushaláyim)."

The tour company gave us some paperwork, which included instructions on how to get back home in the event that the Israeli government detained us at the border and the tour bus didn't wait. Being delayed for questioning "is not uncommon and is not a reason for concern." That sounds like fun.

We crossed into the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan north of the Dead Sea near Jericho. I'm not a religious person but I did think it was cool every time I saw a famous bible city on the map.

On the Jordan side of the border we met our tour guide Ali and bus driver Muhammad. Ali said he was born in Jordan's capital city of Amman. 

Our first tour stop was on Mount Nebo. "Mount Nebo is mentioned in the Bible as the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land before his death. The view from the summit provides a panorama of the West Bank across the Jordan River valley."

A Byzantine church was built on the mountain in the 4th century commemorate the place of Moses' death. The ruins have been excavated and a bunch of fun mosaics were unearthed.

Now that we were in the mosaic mood the tour bus brought us to a mosaic workshop where they did a little song and dance to try to sell us stuff.

We had some lunch in town as well.

Both in Jordan and Israel they seemed very proud of their maqluba or upside down rice, which consists of cooking some rice with chicken, turning the pot upside down, then banging on it to get the rice to fall out. This has got to be one of the stupidest demonstrations ever. 

"The Madaba Map, also known as the Madaba Mosaic Map, is part of a floor mosaic in the early Byzantine church of Saint George in Madaba, Jordan. The Madaba Map depicts part of the Middle East and contains the oldest surviving original cartographic depiction of the Holy Land and especially Jerusalem. It dates to the sixth century AD."


Our accommodations for the night were actually pretty cool: the Seven Wonders Luxury Camp. The word "luxury" is doing a lot of work there but I guess that's relative to the other accommodations in the area.

They started to assign us to our tents and Lydia heard that there wouldn't be a bathroom en suite and she threw a fit. She went up to the Jordanian hotel man and was like "I'm princess of a small municipality in Missouri! Surely you've heard of the Mississippi river!" Long story short we had to pay extra to upgrade for her pregnant highness.

The meals here were buffet style which meant the per person limit on these baklava-type sweets was only theoretical.

There was a cool lounge tent where the mint tea never stopped flowing and some locals jammed on exotic stringed instruments.

I made friends with some of the cool kids in our tour group. I recall some Aussies and a couple of Brits.. maybe some people from California.

Some of them were so cool that they got a friggin cab to take them to town to make a beer run. I threw in for some brewskies. They got a big fat A for effort. Unsurprisingly for a country who's population is 95% Muslim, their beer was god awful. The best thing about it was the Petra art on the can. I bought two and one went on its Last Crusade unopened into the trash.

I felt my son kick for the first time tonight. Lydia felt him then I put my hand on her belly and poked it a few times then he kicked again and we went back and forth a few times having a conversation through Lydia’s organs.

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