Our Trip to Israel

Jordan - Jerash

We're standing on the banks of the Jabbok River. Our guide, Michele had pointed out the trees across the river as being the type that Absalom had been caught in the branches of the tree and left hanging. We stopped for a meditation to remember where Jacob wrestled all night with an Angel of the Lord. It was on this river that Jacob's name was changed to Israel - "He wrestles with God." Across the river from us was a large (probably 10 to 15 yards long) flat rock. It was easy to imagine them wrestling on that rock.

Jerash is another of the Roman Decapolis cities. Jordan is working as hard at restoring this as Israel is at restoring Beth Shean. As usual we found theaters, synagogues, temples, shops and homes. Here we are walking down one of the main roads of the "pavement" two thousand years old - complete with chariot rut tracks visible in some places.

As we were walking up to the theater, we met a group of Jordanians coming down from there. They were celebrating but we didn't find out the cause of the celebration. Apparently they don't need much of a cause to celebrate. The drummers were drumming and everyone was singing and dancing. In the picture above Jimmy joined in the dance. I almost cracked up when several of their women took out cameras and began to snap pictures as fast as we were.

 

The dancing Jordanians went on their way and we finally made it up to the theater. Sam took this picture from the top row of the theater - using telephoto no doubt. This was the most amazing thing I've ever experienced. The spot I'm standing in this picture (that's me in the center with my hands outstretched) is sometimes referred to as a "focus" or "hot spot." When I would talk or sing at that exact location it was like speaking into a microphone in a large auditorium. I don't know how they engineered this natural amplification, but the effect was startling to say the least.

The man in the center is Michele, our guide in Jordan. He is flanked by his two "cousins," our personal "Tourist Policeman" and our bus driver. According to Michele, everyone in Jordan is a "cousin." It made it confusing when we actually met one of his cousins - the son of his mother's sister. Jordanians smile a lot and seem to be very happy people. I guess it's their language - but when they talk to each other in their own language, it sounds like they are having a very bad argument and all they're actually doing is deciding where to meet for lunch.

Here are Theresa and Erin sitting with me - about to enjoy a great lunch. While we are waiting for the food, "bread" was placed on the table to nibble on - that's it on the left side of the picture - looking like a tent. It was cooked over actual stones in a large open oven. It tasted very similar to a flour tortilla that you can get in most Mexican restaurants.

This sign was above the oven at the restaurant. It was one of many tributes we saw throughout the country demonstrating just how much King Hussein had been loved and respected by the people of Jordan. Most of the people seemed to want to like King Abdullah and were waiting to see if he would follow through in his father's political vein.

 

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