Friday, July 23, 2010

TA-Day (that's for your dad, Mandy!)

First, yesterday was a very productive shopping day for Jolanda and I.  We hit many Jordanian handicraft places and saw beautiful linens and things.  We had a few hours after class before the screening of the movie, Captain Abu Raed.

Captain Abu Raed.  Wow.  I am speechless about the film, so I am taking this quote from the website - "Captain Abu Raed is the story of everyday people intersecting across social boundaries. It is a story of dreams, friendship, forgiveness, and sacrifice." 

We got to see the movie at the Royal Film Commission, WITH an actor from the movie!  His name is Ali Maher and he plays a father in the movie. 

For anyone interested, I will be hosting a "screening" of the movie at my house!  Details to come....

Today was a trip to some biblical sites.  First stop was the baptism site of Jesus (heard of him?).  One of the interesting things about this site was that it was originally thought to be on the West Bank of the Jordan River, only to be found on the East Bank by an archaeologist.  The site in Jordan opened in 2000 for the public to view.  We were literally standing 20 feet away from Israel (with a small river between us).

Jolanda, Elmo and I on the river.  See how close Israel is?

My hand in the river where Jesus was baptized.

The Jordan River is pretty polluted, so the many people who want to be baptized at this site often do it from a small pool that is filled with fresh water everyday.  Now, my buddy, Elmo wanted to experience this too, but I didn't want him to fall in the here he is:

You can see he is becoming part of the Jordanian culture
and is now wearing the KEFFIYEH.

Second stop of the day was Mt. Nebo where Moses stood and pointed out the promise land.  Many believe his tomb is somewhere on the mountain.  The church is being restored, so we didn't have a chance to see the actual mosaic that was kept well preserved.  However, up at the top of the mountain, you can see (through the heat haze), many cities:

The cross at the top, called the Serpentine Cross, is symbolic of Jesus and Moses.

This area of Jordan is known for its mosaics, and it was unfortunate we couldn't see the one in the church.  But there were a few they were cleaning.  Here is part of one:

And before heading into Madaba, we stopped at a mosaic workshop where some men were creating beautifully skilled pieces.  Here are a few at work:

Cutting the stone pieces (stone from all around Jordan)

Carefully glueing the pieces into place.

A finished piece.

Being told there was free shipping to anywhere was tempting, but a piece like the one above as a table was about 1500 JD ($2000) depending on the size of the stones.  Smaller stones, bigger price.  However, knowing now what it takes to make one, I would pay that (if I had it) to get one!

Madaba is a city in Jordan that is 50% Muslim and 50% Christian.  It is also the city that contains St. George's Church and the ancient mosaic map of Jerusalem.

The outside.

The inside.

The mosaic.

We had a wonderful Madaba meal.  I can't remember what it is called - but it was delicious!  It was chicken and meat with sweet onions.  This is how it is cooked and served right at the table:


Now we are gathering in David's suite for a little party.  We only have one week left!  We have lots of touring of Amman to do tomorrow, so stay tuned....

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