Friday, March 14, 2008


I went to Jordan.

It is a country composed almost entirely of limestone blocks and aspirational buildings. Aspirational buildings are those similar to what you would find in many parts of Mexico, where the top floor has a staircase that goes up to a non-existant floor and there is rebar sticking out to build another floor if the fancy strikes. Aaman is a Westernized city (relatively speaking) and the women there don't wear full burkas (I only add this detail as the clothing of women seems to be the first question asked and the first thing noticed).

After driving through the country and seeing city after city on the way to the place where Moses saw Israel and died, I realized that I missed seeing color. The shops have color...blankets, scarves, shoes...everything. But, outside of what can be dyed with pigment, there is little color in Jordan.

We made our way to the baptismal site of Jesus which had a mosaic of Jerusalem and across the top, in mosaic, I think that part was new. I also think Jordanians don't know a whole lot about natural geography. The part where Jesus was baptised was not on the riverbank as it exists today...rivers move in 2000 years. Then again, Easter and Christmas aren't on the days that we say either, and it's all spiritual and only means as much as you let it anyway, so I let it mean something to me.

Interestingly enough, I got my first site of a well built, non-aspirational building at the river also. There, across the river, was a gleaming building of polished marble standing in stark contrast to the cloth and stick shed we were in on the Jordanian side. Gleaming with cameras and blue and white flags, Israel's "baptistmal site of Jesus" site was much nicer.


Blogger moville said...

From what we read, King Abdullah is trying to make Jordan a modern, diversified place...they don't have copious amounts of oil, so he is trying to attract investment and high-tech firms to settle in Jordan and create new jobs. But I've heard that this is not much in evidence yet, that the country is pretty much poor and benighted, also that it is struggling with an Iraqi refugee burden. What do you think is the more accurate picture?

8:29 AM  

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