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Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Turkey Day/Week




Thanksgiving day I went to a potluck hosted by the kind folks at the Fulbright House along with around ten of my colleagues and thirty or so Fulbrighters, plus some family members. Although I didn't see the Detroit Lions play and our feasting lasted a mere two hours, there was a huge amount of delicious food and a family feel which did the day justice. After a full day in Amman where I slept in, ate leisurely breakfast, and enjoyed taking it easy immensely, I was ready to head for the hills. Saturday morning Katrina and I hopped a 6:00am flight to Istanbul.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Rum Diary

When I accepted this post last July and knew I would be moving to Jordan, the first place that came to mind was Wadi Rum. My Dad's all time favorite movie is Lawrence of Arabia and I think I was about seven when I watched my first installment of the four hour marathon. Anthony Quinn, in his gruff voice, barks something like "Welcome to Wadi Rum" and that really dramatic music comes on as the camera opens onto the valley. Though I probably fell asleep a half hour into the movie, even then I remember thinking how incredible the desert looked. Recently I spent a weekend in Wadi Rum and got my first real taste of the place.


Rakabat Canyon on the Eastern side of Jebel Um Ushrin

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Oh Dana

A couple of weeks back Katrina and I organized a trip down to Dana Nature Reserve. Dana, pronounced like the Ritchie Valens song, is the largest reserve in Jordan and located around three hours South of Amman. After getting lost a couple of times and dead ending at a group of tipsy, sneering shebab, our two car caravan rendezvoused with Katrina at the campsite just after dusk. We were greeted warmly by our hosts and escorted down the hill to our tents overlooking a wide valley. The location of the camp was incredible. We were a good distance from town and several miles from any paved roads. After dropping our packs our group convened in the large communal tent at the North end of the camp. After a simple dinner of stewed vegetables, hummus, and pita we smoked arguile at the foot the canyon under a full moon before heading to our tents.


Camp


Monday, 18 October 2010

I'm on a Boat... plus waterfalls & wadis

The past two weekends we've done a few excursions which I'll present mostly in the form of pictures. Two weeks back we did Wadi Kerak and this past weekend I and a couple friends drove down to Aqaba for a boat trip on the Red Sea, and a bit of hiking in Wadi Rum.


Wadi Kerak would be our the most involved trip yet: A 10km hike with five abseils, including a 35 meter waterfall. As we made our way down the into the deep canyon one of our guides, Hussein, skipped and ran down the shale as the rest of us tip toed down into the wadi, within five minutes someone nicknamed him the Goat.


Thursday, 7 October 2010

Key Club

After making it home from Wadi Hasa the week before last Paco, Katrina, and I shoveled the contents of the car into our arms and started for my apartment. At the door I dug through my bags to find the keys to my apartment and realized they weren't there. Katrina reminded me we put them in the glove box for the hike, so I went back to the car still carrying my stuff. I opened the car, set down a couple of things, grabbed the house keys, and locked the door. Then I rifled through my stuff and realized that I was missing my keys again, but this time my car keys. I went back to the Sunny, wiped a circle of dust off the passenger window and peaked onto the seat where my car keys were sitting.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Another Day, Another Dinar

Greetings from the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom. It's been a good fortnight over here and I'll share a bit.

I've been working quite a bit lately, which I like. With little experience with green building, the various regional and international standards, and technical & political aspects of this process I'm learning a great deal. I'm in the midst of bringing together the component parts of a document which will, inshala, be the first draft of a comprehensive Jordanian regional standard for green building. Water and Energy are the two most important aspects as Jordan is one of the poorest water states in the world and they import over 95% of their energy. By the way 'inshala' translates more or less to 'god willing.' People say it all the time and a lot of times it just means it's not going to happen- kind of like when you were a kid and you would ask your mom if you could get ice cream after going to the grocery store and she'd say "we'll see."


A few weeks back I drove up Pella to hike up through some ancient ruins. At the foot of a group of columns I met a shepherd, who kept telling me he was a shepherd, with a handkerchief full of Greek, Roman, and Byzanntine coins that he wanted to sell me.

The hike was hot and dry with steady elevation climb. The view to the west overlooking the ruins, Jordan River Valley farmland, and across that all important imaginary line was spectacular.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Welcome to Jordan

Back at the screen and ready to spill with two weeks of the Middle East under my belt. It feels like I've been here a lot longer.


Looking towards Downtown perched on Jabal al-Qal'a



I love this jazzy mother

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Amman & Ramadan

After a mix of planes, trains, and automobiles and just over 24 hours of travel time I arrived in Amman, Jordan. I was on a flight from New York to Amman with three of my colleagues from the program: Katrina, Meridith, and Zahra. During the flight a flight attendant came on the PA and said "We want to inform you that smoking is still prohibited during the flight... we know someone smoked in the lavatory because we can smell it." We all got a little scolding but I don't think anyone suffered the wrath of the Federal Aviation Regulation Commission.