Thursday evening we returned from our four day adventure in the Hassemite Kingdom of Jordan. It was quite incredible, as are all our trips, and I was surprised by how much more I liked it than Egypt. It was cleaner, more Westernized, and the people were not as aggressive while bartering, thank goodness. I'm getting a little tired of bartering for things. Although I did get three necklaces for a total of $7.
One of our first stops of the trip was Mount Nebo, where Moses looked out onto the Promised Land that he would not enter. There is a monument there of the snake on a pole, in representation of the time when the Israelites were bitten by firey serpents and the Lord told Moses to put a serpent on a pole and if the Israelites would look at it they would live. The view from Mount Nebo is quite fantastic; on a clear day you can see the Dead Sea to the south, the Jordan River running towards it from the north, and past the Jordan into Israel.
After Mount Nebo we went to Madaba, where we visited a church with beautiful mosaics (apparently Jordan is known for its mosaics) and had lunch. The church was beautiful; the mosaic found on the floor of the church is a detailed map of the Holy Land.
Most of that first day, however enjoyable those two stops were, was spent on a bus. We crossed the border at the Allenby Bridge which is only 45 minutes from Jerusalem, but once we reached Jordan we started driving south so as to get to Petra by 7:00 or so in the evening. That was a lot of driving, and I realized as I was sitting rather uncomfortably on the bus that I have been listening to quite a bit of music while in the Middle East that probably isn't listened to by most of the people here. So, I just wanted to give a small shout out to the awesomeness of the fact that in three Middle Eastern countries now -- Israel, Egypt, and Jordan -- I have listened extensively to Switchfoot, Snow Patrol, Jimmy Eat World, and Belle and Sebastian. However, the coolest I think is that since I'm using Megan's ipod on our trips I've been listening to her music, which includes the Tualatin-based band formerly known as Stu's Shoes. I highly doubt they ever thought their music would travel to Israel, Egypt, and Jordan. I quite liked the idea of rocking out to Stu's Shoes on the four-hour bus ride to Petra where the next day we would make several Indiana Jones references and our director would wear his sweet hat.