Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day 20: Jeresh, Jordan

Day 20 - Jeresh, Jordan
Our group has now officially shrunk to 7, with the others catching their flights to go back home or to other destinations. It has been a great 3 weeks with a great crew...but we still had one more day to add to our itinerary! We had all choosen Jeresh - given that it is one of the "must see" sites for Jordan and it wasn't included on our tour.
What I love is when Vince gets excited about doing something that he doesn't even know what it is...I suggested Jeresh before we even left for the trip, and he agreed. He then proceeded to tell everyone that we are going to Jeresh, and that it would be great. The evening before the trip, he asks me what it is....but I digress...
We had hired two drivers for the day to take us to and from the site (the seven of us). It is about a 45 minute drive from Amman, but the time past fast given the sites to see on the road. Like the Roadside Coffee Stop that consists of a guy with a coffee percolator over a hot plate sitting under an overpass, the Syrian border being a few kilometers away, the Palestinian refugee camps.
Once at Jeresh, everyone was in awe. Jeresh is a onld Roman city first built during Alexander the Great time (ie 300 BC), but came to its peak at around the 3rd Century when it had a population of about 20,000 people. Most of the reconstructed sites are from about 100 AD, and they are very typically Roman in style.
The first thing that greets you is the large South Gate. We wandered through the other sites that include temples, theaters. We saw the crazy Jordanian Bagpipe crew that was demonstrating the acoustic qualities of the ancient theaters. It was amazing and great to just get out and wander.

Jeresh Colonade Street
Mini-Gap Group at Jeresh Theater
The day ended with our tickets to the Chariot Races. It was about a 1 hour performance where they walk you through the battle stances of the Legionaires, to the soundtrack of Gladiator (think Russell Crowe), which was a bit cheesy - but they did it with heart and it drew great response from the crowd. Then the Gladiators came out and gave a GREAT performance - the crowd got to do the thumbs up/down to kill the gladiator - all with fake blood and everything. Then the chariots came out and raced around the track - letting the white horses win the race (of course) was great. A bit creepy though was the one Gladiator that kept making his pecs dance and pointing at our group to come down for a photo op after...pretty sure we all avoided him...

Sherrill Killing Vince - Does my insurance cover this???
Legionaire Drills
Tonight is our last dinner as a mini-group, before we (ironically) board the same flight home tomorrow.
It has been a great vacation. Jordan has shown us many things, including all of its beautiful and ancient history, and it is always stunning to try and get a glimpse into another culture.
Again, a few things Jordan will leave us with as impression and memories:

1. I never want to see another buffet meal for as long as I live.
2. Floating in the Dead Sea is unlike any other experience or sensation.
3. Petra lives up to all of its allure...I can't wait to see more movies with it as its star.
4. Why do I have to cover my knees and shoulders when the Arabic music stars wear less clothes than Beyonce?
5. Pita does not qualify as a "bread" to Jordanians...despite repeated requests for "no more bread", pitas seemed to always transcend this...
6. Amman is a modern arabic city...except the men still whistle at the woman.
7. Jeresh is an enticing ancient establishment that will awe you

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