Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday activities


marHaba from Amman!  Yesterday we visited some Bedouin people in far Southern Jordan.  It was about a two and a half hour drive.  We also swam in the Dead Sea at a nice resort!

The Bedouin people are native Jordanians and still keep up a very traditional lifestyle from long ago.  For the most part, they are nomadic and are sheep and goat herders.  However, the Bedouins we met are not nomadic.  They actually live in permanent structures and harvest thyme as a community.  We visited their community center where they keep the greenhouses, have a computer lab, do crafts, and have other community gatherings.  We were the first people from the states that have ever visited them at the center.  The children in particular were pretty intrigued by us.  The Bedouins pride themselves on treating men and women equally.  The president of the center is a woman.  The Bedouins have great favor with the King and visits them often.

The contrast between the Bedouins and the people of Amman is pretty amazing.  For citizens of the U.S. who have never visited the Middle East, it’s very likely they have seen many images of Bedouins and not many of the urban types in Amman.  I certainly had (and probably still have) many misconceptions before visiting here.

 Community Center
 Harvesting Thyme
Watching Craft Demonstrations

The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are near the Dead Sea.  There is a natural stone carving sort of thing on top of a large rock one can see from the highway.  It is supposedly of Lot after he was cursed and turned into a pillar of salt.  It is believed that the Dead Sea is salty as a result of this cursing.  The Dead Sea is beautiful, but is it ever salty.  Something like 8 to 12 times saltier than any other body of water.  It is also the lowest point on earth.  Our tour guide told us that the Dead Sea could disappear in 50 years if something is not done.  He said the do have a plan.

I ended up with a little Dead Sea in my eyes and mouth.  Not fun.  Pretty painful actually.  There’s mud at the site for people to put on their bodies.  Like a mud bath.  Dilene put some on my face for me.  Well, I guess no one is suppose to wash his/her face off in the sea.  That’s why the showers are there.  Yeah, I should have watched the locals a little more closely.



Today we are visited The Jordanian National Commission for Women, meeting some senators, meeting a woman who won the International Women of Courage Award (presented by Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama), and meeting an author and activist.  No big deal.  Just another Sunday for me.

ma’salama!

3 comments:

  1. I can't wait to see more. Did you eat food with the Bedouins? Is that experience very different? Is the thyme harvested only as a spice or do they do other things with it? Keep it coming - this is great!

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  2. Am proud to have you as our rep walking among these giants!!

    There is nothing better for skin that high quality mud. (Can you bring a bit in a baggie home or is that akin to stealing artifacts?) Olay and Avon want to keep the "secret of mud" away from the consuming public.

    How does it "feel" being a minority in a foreign land?

    Love your info.

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