Typed up at: Legend Hotel in Delhi Posted from: Legend Hotel in Delhi
The receptionist at our hotel in Madaba pointed us to an intersection where the bus to Amman would go by. Some people at the intersection flagged down the right bus for us. About one dinar and an hour later we got off the bus at one of Amman’s 5 bus stations. We got a taxi to the Sydney Hotel. My cell phone proved invaluable because I didn’t have good directions and our cab driver called the hotel twice to figure out where it was. Amman has lots of one way streets, streets with more than one name, and not really any maps that lay it all out.
But we got there, and were shown a nice room. It was cold, and only a space heater, but we were used to that by now. We spent a fair amount of time just wandering around nearby downtown. We got our snorkel pictures developed, which served as a reminder of how diverse Jordan really is. We often had lunch at Hashem Restaurant, which serves great fuul and humus. Amman is a decent sized city, but nothing like Cairo. There is less traffic, less noise, less trash, and less people. Simultaneously it seems like there’s a sizable rich (or maybe middle class) component to the city. There are lots of boutique stores, fancy restaurants, expensive coffee shops, etc.
The main downtown sight is the Roman theater where concerts are still given (but sadly not in the winter). It’s big and impressive, and a guide was upset that we didn’t want his services. Still, I was starting to feel over-travelled and getting a bit done with seeing more sights. So we relaxed a bit, used the Internet, and wandered without any clear goal.
One night we met up with Essam, a friend of a friend. He drove us all over Amman which gave us a taste of what the neighborhoods are like, from the poor (which didn’t look too terrible) to the rich (where the size and variety of homes is really cool). We got to see just about every of Amman’s major hills, and discovered that most of them have nice buildings on the top, preventing us from admiring the views everywhere.
Our other major activity was to visit Jerash. We took a wait-until-its-full-before-it-leaves-bus to the town, where we got of to see the biggest remains of a Roman city in the Middle East. Mostly it was just a lot of columns and big pieces of rock. There were several reconstructed theaters, arches, and some fallen apart churches as well as falling apart temples. I felt done looking at old buildings so couldn’t muster much enthusiasm for the place.
I did really enjoy the show they put on in the hippodrome, though. We got to see 40 people dressed up as Roman legionnaires demonstrate various formations and maneuvers. The narration was good, and I really did try to imagine what it would look like to see a full legion of 5000 soldiers do the same. There was your standard gladiator show, and then they rode horse carts around the hippodrome which looked kind of neat, but did not feel at all like a race. To get back we took a service taxi, a regular bus, and finally a real taxi. It all went pretty smoothly.