This past week I visited Jordan's desert castles, rehearsed with the choir Dozan wa Awtar, volunteered at the Amman National School for the second time, visited the circus, and helped paint my host family's living room. Six days ago was our trip to the desert castles. Exactly fourteen of us from Amideast spent our saturday in the deserts east of Amman. It was mind-boggling how close we were to Jordan's borders. Our bus driver was joking we could make it to either Syria, Iraq, or Saudi Arabia in under an hour. The first castle we visited was Qasr Kharaneh. The wild dog running along the edge of the parking lot was only the third I've seen here in Jordan. The other two were here in Amman. I have no idea how this dog is able to survive out in the desert. When we reached the top of the castle there was nothing but dunes and power lines in every direction. The castle is said to have been a meeting point for the upper class of Damascus during the time of the Umayyad caliphate (before their last remaining prince's flight to Spain/Al Andalus). This makes the castle easily over a thousand years old. Surprisingly archaeologists have found no means of water storage at the castle. This leads them to believe it was just a waypoint or meeting place for caravans.
|Qasr al Azraq|
UNESCO World Heritage Site
|Restorations at Qasr Amra|
Besides travelling around Jordan I've also been studying, volunteering, and singing here in Amman. Classes are going great at Amideast. I also volunteer in music classes at the Amman National School helping elementary and middle schoolers with basic music theory and guitar lessons. Once a week I spend a couple hours rehearsing with the choir Dozan wa Awtar. We have a huge Christmas concert right before I leave in December. Most of the songs we're singing are in English or Romantic languages. I was actually hoping to learn at least one song in Arabic and bring it back to sing with Laurentian Singers. For any of you who are interested, Laurentian Singers will be touring down the east coast this coming spring. We are scheduled to make stops in Central New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC.
|I have seen a few roadside tents with satellite tv.|
|Ahlan wa Sahlan|
Al Cirq Al Rusee
|This isn't the best example of the rebar. Though it's the best I could find from the windows of my host family's apartment.|