Tuesday: I often sit there in amazement of myself. About what goes on in my head. My weird habits. Why is it that I try to say thank you to people in every possible language except their own? So far people have received a “merci”, “grazie” and “thank you”. Is “Shukran” really that difficult, Rebecca??
Amman is an Arab capital that you could imagine yourself living in. It doesn’t have the “bling overkill” that Dubai has or the “try hard” factor of Doha. Amman is its own being. Confident and comfortable in itself. It’s easy and safe to walk around, even late at night and everybody is friendly. “Welcome to Jordan!” is heard everywhere. No one’s in your face to sell you something. The city sits on seven hills (like Rome!) and is accessed via eight roundabouts which work their way west to east, conveniently named circle eight in the west to circle one where the citadel, built about 1800BC is located (yet to be visited!)
Today it was time to leave Amman and head south, stopping at Mt Nebo on the way. The ironic thing is that despite peace agreements in place with Israel, Jordan still has a big, old MiG pointing in that general direction. Just a friendly reminder to the Israelis, I guess! Mt Nebo is the spot where Moses supposedly stood and viewed the Promised Land. He also died here. You can still stand on the spot and see Jericho and Jerusalem and Bethlehem. You have to wonder though as Moses said he could see to Galilee which is nowhere near this spot. Yeah…nice one, Moses. I think he just said he could see that far to get a bit of extra land. No one had the heart to tell the poor, old bloke the truth.
It seems “God” has been telling a lot of people to do a lot of things over the years in this part of the world. He still does today. The history books from over here I’m sure will say that God told Saddam to do the things he did. It was happening 1000s of years ago too. Just look at Moses. Perhaps he was just after a bit of territory (nothing new there…that’s just human nature) and miraculously he could see to Galilee. Guess what. You can’t.
The problem with Israel is that it encompasses people’s ideas and interpretations. Is it a geographical location? Perhaps. Or is it a state of being (Is=Isis/female/moon, Ra=Ra/male/sun, el=Elohim/god state in balance). Maybe. Anyway, it’s all just perception. We are living here and now. That’s all that we have. Not past. Not future. So based on that, peace is required now. Not ownership. That’s all way too materialistic for my liking. Isn’t that what’s got us into the mess we’re in globally right now? Besides…none of us really own anything anyway. We should learn to detach a little more. From places and ideas. And then there is talk of “God’s chosen people”. Aren’t we all supposed to be special in God’s (or Allah’s or Spirit or the universal consciousness..….whatever name works for you) eyes? In those days, the big religion was Judaism. Christianity and Islam didn’t even exist. They are both an offshoot of Judaism, so who’s to say they’re not part of the “chosen” group? I think we should all concentrate on our own faults and issues a bit more (Jihad should be a personal struggle perhaps rather than against “them out there”. Anyway…..daily rant now over. At the end of the day, it really probably doesn’t matter what I think. There are lots of sites over here with lots of wonderful stories attached…and they fascinate me.
Next it was on to the obligatory workshop. A mosaic one this time. I always dread these visits but always get sucked in. You’ll be glad to know I didn’t buy anything. The piece I wanted was approx. AUD6000, so I thought best give it a miss! Lunch was next after a visit to Madaba. This is a market town located on the Kings Highway and is famous for its Byzantine church on whose floor was discovered a mosaic of a 500AD map of the region. It’s interesting that a third of the population in this town is Christian and the town has been inhabited for about 4500 years. It’s funny when you try to find a supermarket over here. It isn’t really what you and I may have in mind, e.g.: Sainsbury’s, Coles. Over here it’s a tiny, grubby little shop that sells maybe water, chocolates and a couple of shelves of tinned food/chips or biscuits. Don’t believe the sign out the front when it says that they sell, “Every Thing”.
Next we continued down the King’s Highway to Dana. This highway links Madaba to Petra and has been used for about 3000 years. It has been traversed by Israelites, Nabataeans, Christian Crusaders and Muslim pilgrims..…and me! Passing Wadi Mujib, we had a photo stop at the Crusader Castle of Karak before arriving at the spectacular Wadi Dana. This is the largest reserve in Jordan and is basically their version of The Grand Canyon. So huge and vast, it really is nature putting you in your place. Most of Dana village is a ghost town now and hanging off the side of a cliff, it makes for good exploring and photo opportunities. The odd local and a couple of rundown but quaint hotels still operate, but we stayed at the guest house. It’s the perfect location for a sunset!