Nations of the World: Jordan

The country of Jordan is located over there.  You know, in the desert.  Actually, the country to the right is Iraq and to the south is Saudi Arabia.  On the left side is Israel.  Should help those of you lacking in any geographical knowledge.

As some of you know, I went to Jordan back in 2004 for an archaeological excavation.  That’s right bitches, I used my degree, if only for six weeks.  It was probably one of the coolest experiences of my life.  I realize that I have never actually written much about it, so I figure this would be a good chance to do so.

That is my passport stamp, April 8th is the day we arrived in Amman, the capital of Jordan.  Just a way of proving I was actually there.  Also it helped me remember when we were there.

We stayed in the town of Madaba, which is the home of a Mosaic map, which is the oldest map with references to the Holy Land discovered.  The map is located at a church and while we were there, it was probably the best place in town to exchange money.  You see at that point, the rate was $20=14 Dinar, but if you went to a bank or any exchange place you only received about 13.75 Dinar.  So if you are ever there, head to the church to exchange your money.

Our house was actually a very old Byzantine home.  I do not have any pictures of the outside, which is disappointing because thinking back on it, I realize now that it was a pretty cool place to stay.  Also, I never took a picture of the shower, which felt like being in a Turkish prison.  Not that I would know anything about that…

The crazy thing about Madaba is that everywhere you go you see history.  Also, the town is majority Christian, but you still have plenty of Muslims.  So needless to say, you wake up everyday to the delightful sounds of Call to Prayer.  One of the highlights of Madaba was the one restaurant where a few of us would go to enjoy some good lamb, beer, and some sheesha.  Do not fear, sheesha is just flavored tobacco smoked out of a hookah.

That short man with the fez beside me was our favorite waiter, who we called Smiley.  He was always smiling, obviously.  Actually, one night we were there (violating curfew) and enjoying some beers, and we got to hear a pretty good band singing in English.

The Site

I do not believe I can say too much about the site or anything we really found.  If you want any information on that sort of thing, head to Gannon’s website.  I guess I can show some pictures though, no harm in that, right?

Look at that sexy mo’fo’.  Shaving was definitely overrated.  Funny thing about the climate, it’s really freakin’ hot there.  But not Florida hot, more like Arizona hot.  Actually I have no clue what Arizona is like, but I have been told that it is very dry and very hot.

Also, since most of you are pretty dumb, I am guessing you picture Jordan to look more like what you see in a desert movie.  All sand dunes and whatnot…well it’s not.

This is what an archaeological site looks like.  Pretty cool, huh?  Basically, lots of digging in the dirt.  Who would have guessed?

This is starting to get a little long, so I am going to continue this after the jump…hopefully you will follow along to read about all the cool places we went to in Jordan.


Jerash was a Roman city and pretty much completely intact.  It was very cool getting to see Greco-Roman ruins without having to head to Italy and Greece.

In all honesty, I really do not remember a ton of stuff from Jerash.  It was an awesome time.  There were hippodromes, temples, theaters, and just about everything you would expect to see at a site like this.

My favorite thing was probably the amphitheater, which as you can see was pretty damn big.  I cannot remember exactly how many it could hold (6000 seems like something I heard at one point), but the interesting thing to me was that no matter where you sat, the people on stage could be heard even if they spoke in a regular voice.  Yes, we tested the theory.  That is something you hear in an Art History class, but never get a chance to test it out.

Mount Nebo
For those of you with no knowledge of the Bible (that’s that book with gods and stuff), Mount Nebo is the place where Moses saw the promised land and then was buried.   The funny thing about the site is that the one guy in our group told a story (he must have told it many times) which was not funny, unless you study this sort of thing.

“Moses asks God to let him see the promised land.  So God agrees and parts the clouds and fog, giving Moses a perfect view of….Switzerland.”

The dramatic pause is the important thing.  Oh well, I still find it funny.  If I am not mistaken, this is the view old Moses got, does not look very promising to me.

The other cool thing about Mount Nebo is the cool sculpture.  It is the cross entwined with Moses’ serpent.  Oh never mind, just pick up the Old Testament and read a few chapters.

Desert Castles
These were pretty cool.  We went to a bunch of them one day, basically they were castles that the Arabian folks used during Crusader times.

One of them was where they filmed some of the scenes from Lawrence of Arabia.  That is something I heard while I was there.  The majority of the time there, Drew and I discussed how cool it would be to play paintball or laser-tag there.  How you would try to defend certain areas and whatnot.  This was also one of the sites we visited where we did not have any kind of tour.  We were allowed to run free.

I think that dome would make a good place to set up as a sniper.  not that I thought about that kind of thing.

This is the place you have all been waiting for me to talk about.  It is the place we see in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Transformers:  Revenge of the Fallen.  In fact, you may remember my anger at Transformers for screwing up the geography of the region.  It was also featured in an episode of Destination Truth, although I have yet to watch it.

That is the gorge you have to walk through to get to the cool parts.  It builds up such a great feeling, you know you are in for an awesome sight.

I can tell you one thing though, make sure you are in good shape if you ever go there.  I am not talking marathon shape or anything, but to get to the top of the site, you have to go for a nice long hike.  I doubt I could make it nowadays.

Once you are up there though, this is the view you treated to.  I am not one for relaxing and meditating, but I sat up there by myself for like twenty minutes and it felt really cool.  Apparently this is also a spot where they performed human sacrifice, but I cannot for the life of me remember how they knew that or who told us that.

The above pictures are just some to show you how awesome Petra truly is.  The picture to the right though shows how amazing the Nabataeans were at carving this entire site from the rock.

After hanging out for the day at the site, we back to our hotel and a few of us got cleaned up (the first non-Turkish prison shower in weeks) and headed out to one of the bars.

Ended up having a great time, but no one thought to take pictures of the evening.

The next day before we left, we bought some candy bars from a gift shop.  There was nothing seemingly special about the candy bar, aside from the name:  Uranus bar.  I am guessing Uranus does not seem as funny in Arabic as it does to us.  Hell, maybe Mars bar translates funny in Arabic…

I think I should start wrapping this up before it becomes a book.  Needless to say, I had a great time in Jordan.  I highly recommend going there if you ever get the chance.

And see, you thought NOTW would be all stupid and ridiculous lies about random countries you never heard of, like Canada.