Zoned Out

Good Morning all,

Some of you have been following our adventures in the Middle Eastern country of Jordan this last week.  I’ve posted more pictures than anyone wants on Facebook, so I’ll spare you more of the same this morning.

The capital city of Amman, where we’ve been for 5 days, is made up of geographical ‘zones’.  Beyond that I have no idea where I am most of the time because it all (sorry) looks alike.

As you read this, we’ll be on our way to the ancient ruins of Petra, but today our travels took us to another ancient city called Jaresh. Fascinating place, I have some thoughts on this that I’m still categorising in my mind and may share with you later if I come up with anything that makes sense.

I would like to tell you about two ‘zones’ I lived in, at least in my mind, for most of the day.

The first several hours and the last one, I’ll call the “Traffic Terror Zone”.

A lovely guy named “Bashar” picked us up at our guest house an hour late.  We were relieved that he had a late model car with seatbelts.

Within minutes I could guess that he fancied himself a Formula One driver, because before we’d ‘clicked in’, we were off like a young pony with a burr under the saddle.

Bashar talked and waved his hands as he drove pell-mell north on a pretty big freeway, winding and climbing while changing lanes constantly without even a glance behind.    Tony assured me he was only going 80, but it felt like we were in a rocket.  We passed numerous traffic signs to Syria, one hour away, and saw a few police vans with guns mounted on the roofs.  He assured us that all is well and we arrived at Jaresh in record time. I gathered my wits and crawled out of the back seat, whereupon he pointed to the gate of this marvellous and ancient temple ruin, and said, “Back here, 2 hour”.

After collecting ourselves with a visit to the “W.C.”, we then spent the next two hours walking around in the hot sun. Our phones recorded 5 miles, and that didn’t take in the steps.   We took so many pictures even we don’t know what we saw, but it was interesting.

Now, lets enter into the second ‘zone” and I’ll call that the “Gastronomical Nightmare’.

On the way up the highway, Bashar careened off the road to buy us some RAW eggplant for us to taste.  That was followed by another screeching stop for orange juice.

Make no mistake, we LOVE to eat, but the last week my stomach has been revolting (or maybe it’s me that’s revolting, but you get the idea).  We’ve even had the privilege of visiting one lovely American raised and trained doctor the day we arrived, I was so crook.  She prescribed “Spasmomen” and got me on my feet but that may be too much information.  Let’s just say, my stomach is a bit delicate.

When we staggered back from our self guided HOT SUN tour, Bashar indicated that now we would eat a buffet.  I demurred politely and said I’d like a drink and maybe some Baba Ganoush.  (Roasted and mashed eggplant and some spices, very easy on the stomach).

Well, there must be some regional differences in Baba Ganoush, because what I got most resembled a good RAW salsa, filled to the brim with onions, peppers and who knows what else.  Wash that down with a nice lemon/mint slushie complete with the whole fruit, skin and all, and enough mint to bring tears to your eyes..

I was holding my own after this sumptuous lunch when we started home, only to screech to a halt.  Bashar ran into a shed and came out with two large cups saying “Doctor! Try this!”  He called Tony that all day because I’d put the suffix, just for fun, on the paperwork.

His offering: two big glasses of fermented sheep milk. It was actually rather good, somewhat salty and reminiscent of Grandma’s buttermilk. I sipped it carefully for an hour and felt better.

But wait!  There’s more.  Another stop for a large a plate of figs, washed lightly with a bottle of water beside the road.

We asked to be dropped at a mall where we said goodbye and staggered in.  It was very modern with all the anchors stores, Body Works, Bed Bath and Beyond, H&M and a food court.   We settled on a strong cup of coffee to settle our stomachs……….and of course…. a Cinnabon.  Some people never learn.

So now back to the first circle of terror.  The taxi ride home brought to mind the words I’d seen from one of my readers this morning, who quoted, “The clinging hand of His child makes a desperate situation a delight to Him.”

Tony didn’t notice as he hopped in the front seat of the taxi that I didn’t have a seat belt in the back.  Again, we bolted into traffic with the driver playing a selection from his iPhone what might be called “contemporary Islamic Music” with a lot of ‘Allahs’ in every other word. Not to be outdone, I discovered that “God” was finding its way into my own thoughts as well. Tony said later that it was “somehow significant” that the young man seemed to be clutching the steering wheel in one hand and his prayer beads in the other with equal dedication.  For myself, I was catatonic with fear, gripping the seatback and bracing for impact.

And so the ‘message’ of today’s blog (if there is one) is two fold:

First, we can’t wait to get to the civility of Hong Kong this next week where Tony will be presenting his Anagaion course to our friends at International Baptist. And while Jordan’s been fun and interesting, we can’t wait to eat back to ‘normal’ Hong Kong fare again, like pigeon, pork and chicken feet!

And two, we’re ready to be home. Hopefully the 23rd.  We’ve got to settle down and act like adults.

Ya’ll take care now, hear?


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