On the 4th of July, I woke up in Amman! It was Day 4 of our Jordan trip, and our last day there.
First we went to the Odeon, which is a huge Roman theater. There are really good acoustics in there, and our tour guide told us to sing some American songs. I never thought I would listen to the national anthem in a Roman theater in Jordan...
This site was actually in the middle of the city. A big group of 80 (white) Americans started to attract a crowd. Like the people we talked to the day before in the park said, there aren’t a lot of white tourists who come to Jordan. We were kind of an anomaly. People started gathering around us and taking pictures until our tour guide shooed them away. It was fun to feel exotic.
It reminded me of Paris, where Asian tourists would always take pictures of me unashamedly. One time five Japanese men took pictures of me while I was standing in line for the bathroom at Versailles. That was weirder because people in France are white. But that’s my life in foreign countries, apparently.
You’ll never guess what we had for lunch this day...KFC! Yes, Kentucky Fried Chicken in Jordan. That was pretty Fourth of July-y. I was a little scared to see what the Jordanian interpretation of KFC was, but it was a lot less scary than most of the meals we had there.
The last site we went to in Jordan was the Jordan River. We went to a place that Christians have worshipped as the baptismal site of Jesus since the first century. Even though no one knows where the exact place was, obviously, it was really cool to be there! I have touched the Jordan River!
I saw a few people baptizing themselves there on the other side of the river. I would not have done that...it was not clean water. On the other side of the river is Israel. If you tried to swim across you would probably get machine-gunned down. Okay, that might be an exaggeration. But there were soldiers there watching everyone. They don’t mess around with security in this part of the world.
It was also the hottest temperature that I’ve EVER had to walk around in. It was way over 100. I’m so glad I live in Wisconsin and not the Jordanian desert.
On a related note, let’s discuss how my skin now has pigmentation. Let’s compare a picture from this day with the first week I was in Jerusalem.
Haha. Although I am in the shadows a little in the Jordan River picture. Thanks to going to the beach in Tel Aviv and walking around in Jordan’s sun this week, I’m probably the tannest that I’ve ever been.
Though it wasn’t that hard of a record to break.
Though it wasn’t that hard of a record to break.
After the Jordan River, we headed to the Israeli border to go back home to the Jerusalem Center. Sadly we couldn’t cross the border just by swimming the river. Bus #6 came through and actually worked all the way to the border crossing. On the Israeli side of the border we got onto bus #7, since our bus couldn’t cross the border with us.
We ended our day with an America party at the Jerusalem Center. The cooks barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs for us. You were supposed to come dressed as a famous American of history, so there were some funny costumes. My favorite was Helen Keller. It was fun celebrating America after waking up in a Middle Eastern monarchy, and then crossing the border to a place that has not been blessed with the peace that we enjoy at home.
I loved visiting Jordan! I love seeing and experiencing new places. Some final thoughts and things I want to remember about Jordan...
-Jordan has 6.5 million people, and Amman has about 3 million.
-Before Israel existed, and this whole area was owned by the British, Jordan was considered part of Palestine. The British originally promised the whole area (modern-day Israel, Palestine, and Jordan) to the Jewish people. But then in 1922 they went back on their word, split the land at the Jordan River and formed an Arab state. That’s why some Jews think “there’s already an Arab state in Palestine.”
-Jordan is considered part of the Holy Land. As you can see from my blog posts about Jordan, lots of biblical events happened there.
-Jordan joined other Arab nations in attacking Israel in 1948, 1967, and 1973. After Egypt, they were the second (and last) Arab country to make a peace treaty with Israel. Since 1994, Israel and Jordan have had good relations. They work together on things like water supplies (which is a pretty big issue in the desert).
-Jordan is known as an oasis of peace in the Middle East. Right now there are a ton of refugees coming to Jordan from countries like Iraq and Syria.
-I was in Jordan when the Muslim Brotherhood fell in Egypt! I watched the protests on the news in Arabic.
-You can buy Barbie dolls wearing burqas in Jordan. I wish I could have gotten one :)
-Before we got to Jordan, our professor warned us that the bus wouldn’t look as nice as our Israeli buses do. When we got on the bus, it looked really new and nice and our professor was surprised. And then it didn’t work, haha.