January 27, 2011

4 September 2010

4 September

Today we drove back to Jordan. We left at 8am and reached the border shortly after 10am. From there it took nearly 2 hours to cross. I don’t know what the holdup was. There were a lot of cars trying to go through and I heard Drew having a conversation with someone about visas. I have a multiple entry visa for Jordan arranged prior to leaving Australia but the conversation sounded as though they wanted us to pay more money. Drew pretty much told them to get fucked, stood his ground and told them it wasn’t happening. Nothing was ever said about it.

Once we were finally over the border we drove another few hours to Jerash. We arrived just before 1pm. We got off the bus and were stunned at how obscenely hot it was. I don’t know what the temperature was, but it was in no way pleasant.

The temple structure at Jerash is purely Roman. It is also huge. Like Palmyra, only 30% has been excavated. Going by the size of 30%, the whole site would be enormous.

I can’t remember the name of the guide so we’ll call him Larry. He was very knowledgeable.

The first part of the site was a large round structure surrounded by 80 or something columns. The ground in the area was slightly raised, giving it an obscure look. This look was caused by a series of earthquakes in the area.

Rounding a corner and going up a few stairs we reached an amphitheatre. Not as large or impressive as Jordan but still very interesting. There were carved circle holes in the wall that allowed you to hear the person on the other side talk but also amplified the sound.

Two men demonstrated how well the sound carried. One played the bagpipes and one the snare drum. It was loud and fun and a little strange to see bagpipes. I guess this is another area where I don’t know enough about the history of the area to know if they’re traditional or not.

Ange had to go sit down at this point. She’s been feeling unwell for a few days now and the heat was too much for her.

We continued on up the hill to an area where an original mosaic still exists in really good condition. Its stunning. To have survived time and elements like it has is nothing short of amazing.

Larry led up around then to the top of the Temple of Athena. This part was intricately decorated. One of the columns they call the humming pillar because it moves and makes noises in the wind. You can put your finger under it, safely enough, and feel it as it moves. From here we walked down a flight of stairs. When we reached the bottom someone asked what area we were in now only to be told it was still the Temple of Athena. The place would be almost as big as a football field.

I enjoyed looking around the site. As far as first true Roman sites go, this was fantastic.

We had lunch in the parking lot then packed up and drove back into Amman. We arrived about 4ish. We spent the night in the same motel as the first night we arrived but in different rooms.

Our groups decided to get taxis into the city. We found a place to stop for tea and ordered drinks. After 45 minutes we hadn’t seen either the water or the drinks so we got up and left. This started the seemingly aimless wandering that I seem to loathe so much in the heat. It didn’t take long though to find a nice place to eat. As soon as we walked in the waiters started moving tables together. Menus came over quickly and our drinks order arrived within minutes. It was wonderful. I went typically Western with my choice – burger, fries and a Pepsi. This place had free wi-fi so those who could got their internet fix while they could.

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