Petra

I recently had a week off of work due to Eid al-Adha, which is a religious holiday celebrating the Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael.  It was rather surprising to see how the city kind of shut down for four days. A lot of restaurants were open and some of the bigger stores and little else. The streets were fairly empty during the day and became extremely congested at night.

Courtney McBeth (the director of Global Internships) and Ruth Gerritsen-McKane (Director of Undergraduate Social Work Education) were visiting Jordan and we were able to do some sightseeing. One day we went to Umm Qeis which is in northern Jordan that overlooks the Sea of Galilee as well as the meeting of borders of three Middle Eastern countries, namely Jordan, Israel, and Syria. We then went to Ajlun Castle which dates back to the time of the Crusades. And then we went to Jerash which is full of Roman Architecture. The following day was spent in Jordan's most famous tourist attraction, Petra. Unfortunately it is somewhat difficult to upload photos due to poor internet connection.

 

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Koshary

Koshary is a famous Egyptian dish. It is rather good. Koshary is rice, lentils, chickpeas, noodles and a tomato garlic sauce, topped with sauteed onions. My favorite part is what is to the left of the koshary, the red one, which is called shatta. Shatta is a spicy sauce that you can add to give it a little kick. I think the other one is some kind of garlic sauce.

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Jordanian/ Arab Food

For the next week or so I am going to venture beyond shawarma, falafel, hummus, and fuul, and try some more traditional Jordanian dishes. Of course this food would be better if it was homemade, but restaurants work fine for me.  

Yesterday, to start off this expedition I ate mansaf . "

Mansaf is a Jordanian dish originating in Arabia. Today it has been adopted as the national dish of Jordan, made of lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt and served with rice." I was not particularly looking forward to this meal because of the way the jameed or"fermented dried yogurt" was described to me. It is sheep or goat yogurt that is dried into balls that can be stored until ready to be used. They then crush that into a powder and boil it in water to return it to a liquid form. The lamb meat that is part of the dish is cooked in the yogurt sauce. It sounding the least appetizing of the dishes I have been told to try was my first choice. 

 http://mansaf.org/en-mansaf.htm

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I was unable to finish the mansaf. Not because it did not taste good but because it was a rather generous portion with no variation in the taste. The mansaf was enjoyable. It would have been better if it had been accompanied by bread and some other things to accent the taste. I will probably eat it again, although it is not my favorite arab dish.  

And since I didn't get enough sheep dairy, I got some kunafa for desert, two different kinds even. 

Egyptian fuul is better than Jordanian fuul

This past Saturday I decided to do some of the more traditional touristy things. I had heard a lot about the Roman Amphitheater so I looked up online a good restaurant to accompany my sightseeing. I went to Hashem restaurant for breakfast, it had great reviews online and from my Jordanian coworkers. The falafel was excellent, the hummus was exquisite, and the fuul was sub par. Fuul is a fava bean paste. I have not enjoyed the  fuul here in Jordan nearly as much as I did in Egypt last summer, hence the title of this post. The Egyptian fuul was more flavorful and closer resembled refried beans (one of my favorite foods). And what breakfast would be complete without being followed by dessert. After breakfast I went to Habeeba's to get some kunafa. It was gooey and crunchy just the way I like it.

A popular restaurant in the city center named Hashem. I ate fuul, falafel, hummus, and pita.

A popular restaurant in the city center named Hashem. I ate fuul, falafel, hummus, and pita.

Kunafa is a very greasy desert that is made out of cheese and I do not know what else. 

Kunafa is a very greasy desert that is made out of cheese and I do not know what else. 

After breakfast and dessert, I ventured over to see the Roman Amphitheater. The exhibit consists of three main parts which include a large theater, a small theater and a rather small museum. It cost 1 JD (roughly $1.40) to buy a ticket to get in to see all three. I admit that climbing to the nosebleed section was more fun than I thought it would be. The theater looks much more impressive when looking down. 

Built in Alarm Clock

My apartment came with an alarm clock. It is the call to prayer that comes from the Mosque that is right next to my apartment. Everyday, without fail, at around 4:43 AM Muslims are called to prayer over the Mosque's loudspeakers. They are called to prayer at other times of the day, 4:43 is the only time that has really stuck with me though.

 

I have now been in Jordan for the past three weeks. My days have been filled with walking around Jordan and working at the Ministry of Social Development. For the most part I am translating documents and articles from Arabic into English or from English into Arabic. The work really is not that exciting. I will say that I am very grateful for google translate and dictionaries that assist me in my work. (More does in fact go into it than just plugging it into google translate)  

I work Sunday to Thursday from 9 AM to 2 PM. (Friday is the day of worship here and the weekend consists of Fridays and Saturdays. The city is pretty quiet on Fridays) I usually walk to work, it takes about an hour and twenty minutes, i could take a van that would cost around forty cents one way, but I am too cheap for that. We will see if that lasts. There are elevators but I usually walk up the stairs to the fifth floor. There are 122 stairs to get from the ground floor to the fifth floor.

This is a side shot of the Ministry of Social Development. My office is the two windows circled in red.

This is a side shot of the Ministry of Social Development. My office is the two windows circled in red.

This is my desk. It seems rather empty, but I don't really have anything to clutter it up with.

This is my desk. It seems rather empty, but I don't really have anything to clutter it up with.

I have not eaten anything too crazy yet. I have mostly survived on fruits, vegetables, nuts, falafel, fuul, and shawarma. There are two choices of shawarma chicken or meat (usually lamb). I am sure that there will be many interesting and exotic dishes that I will eat. 

I am not much of a social networker and this is my first blog. So I guess we will see how it goes.