Tuesday, July 13, 2010

More Desert Castles...

Qusayr Amra is where Elmo is working hard pumping water for the hunting lodge. This small castle served as a bathhouse and hunting lodge. It still contains many of the murals that were of good times. The building was constructed around 711 AD during the reign of Walid. He was a fierce prophet of the Muslim caliphate. The building was used for “down time” and was kind of like a “men’s club”.

Qasr Kharana (meaning rabbit) was our last stop on the desert tour. A painted inscription above one of the doors mentions the date 710 AD making it one of the earliest forts of the Islamic era. However, with the stones inscribed with Greek inscriptions might mean it was built over a Roman ruin. You can notice narrow windows that appear to be arrow slits. This castle had stables for all the camels! It was thought to have been an inn?

This was a stable for the camels.

Our guide, Jimmelah, took us to a wonderful Arabic restaurant called Tawaheen Al-Hawa for mixed grill (lamb, chicken and ground meat) with hummous, kibbeh, mutabbal, tabouleh, chicken wings, sausages, lemon mint drink and the traditional dish called mansaf. Mansaf is SO good, but very rich. Our guide and a few others smoked the hookah which is a large smoking device with different flavored tobacco – like apple or lemon mint. By the way…lemon mint is very popular here! It is a very tasty drink and I recommend putting mint in your lemonades at home!

These were the "sides" that go with the meat.  Jolanda and I thought the middle was a lazy susan and we were spinning it around.  It was not supposed to be a lazy susan - to our surprise and embarrassment!
(Jimmelah is in the background)

Jimmelah was very helpful with telling us about her culture, such as arranged and love marriages and the hijab (headscarf). Out of her 3 daughters, two were arranged marriages and one was love. For the arranged marriage, the man and woman do not know each other until the parents agree for them to meet. One thing I didn’t know is in some families either person can refuse, but in other families, that may not be the case. Jimmelah said both her daughters agreed to marry. The other marriage, the one of love, was with the neighbor boy. As for the hijab, Jimmelah says it is up to her daughters whether or not they want to wear one. They all do wear the head scarf and girls start wearing it around age 13. There are many other reasons for the hijab. In my observations, it seems that the majority of women are wearing head scarves in Jordan. I would like to try it for a day and see how I feel about being covered – if I would feel different. I may not stand out as much like I do now with my blond hair!

Next post will be about the trip to the North we had on Saturday and Sunday!


  1. Is that a plate flying off what you two thought was a lazy susan? Food looks really good!

  2. I keep thinking Indiana Jones is going to pop up in some photo

  3. Beautiful pictures Sarah. The kids are going to love seeing what another country looks like! I can see that you have already experienced so much of the culture.