Last Friday, before we both became swamped with school, lesson plans and endless meetings, Heather and I decided to do some sightseeing around Amman. Every Friday, a market, Souq Jara, is held in Jabal Amman, the area of Amman where our school is located. Heather and I ate breakfast and set out. We found the market after only a brief search and started browsing.
The first thing we noticed was that it had been a humongous mistake to eat breakfast. The market had all kinds of spectacular looking foods to try, such as a chili paste, crepes, pancakes, pizzas, cookies, ice cream, slushies, a partridge in a pear tree. AND they had tons of booths with all kinds of antiques, paintings, souvenirs, clothes, and lamps that looked straight out of Aladdin. I know where I'm going for Christmas presents this year!
After resisting all kinds of crepes, pancakes and pizzas, we broke down and bought some cookies with fig filling. Then we headed off to find the Citadel, supposedly the most exciting thing to see in Amman. Part of the Citadel are the ruins of a Hercules temple. And on the map, it was only a hop, skip and jump away from where we were!
The map did not, however, include the thousands of tiny, curved, wiggly streets that stood between us and the Citadel, conveniently located on the top of a mountain in the middle of Amman. We started walking. And walked some more. And just for fun, kept walking. We ended up in the middle of downtown. We asked some people how to get to the Hercules Temple. They told us we did not want to walk. We disagreed. We should have listened.
We followed the nice guys' advice and walked vaguely upward towards what we thought was the Hercules Temple. Sweaty and rather sore, we finally reached the top. And didn't see the Hercules Temple. After, you guessed it, walking some more, we finally decided to hail a taxi just to figure out where we were. We jumped in cab, asked for the Roman Ampitheatre, which was supposedly just past the Hercules Temple, drove about two blocks and got back out. Worth the 40 cents.
We wandered in, paid the one dinar charge and started climbing. We made it up the uneven steps to the top. What a view. We sat at the top and watched the crowd for a little bit. We saw a group of women in full hijab. It was hard enough for me to climb up those steps in jeans; I can't imagine doing it in a gown when I couldn't see my feet.
We stayed until closing time, then wandering with the other tourists out to the street. We decided to take a taxi back this time.