The population of Amman is four million. There are 1½ million cars so traffic and pollution are getting worse. They also have a serious trash problem. It is normal for people to picnic and just leave trash.
Houses in Jordan are white buildings with red roofs. The limestone comes from Jordan and Hebron in Palestine. There are water tanks on top of the buildings for water storage. One is allowed to fill tanks with water once a week. If it often run out, one buys more tanks.
All countries in this region have stopped taking refugees. In Turkey we were told that refugees were going back home for the holidays. “Well, if it is safe enough to do that, you should stay.” Refugees are returning to Damascus. Ironically, the city has control and people are even going there for a holiday.
Marwan’s family is originally from Palestine. They moved to Kuwait in 1955. He was born there. In 1991, they moved to Jordan. This was after the Iraqi War because there were no hospitals, roads, etc. He has been to Palestine in 1987 before the fighting to visit his family in Palestine. His whole family went for 3 months. It was easy. Today it is impossible. He has no papers to prove that he is Palestinian, but he said that Israel knows.
We went to the Ammonite Watchtower. Not much is known about the function of these towers but there are eighteen of them. This one is in the heart of Amman and Marwan had never heard of it or seen it. It was padlocked but the man in charge of the entrance let us in. He said that he gets a visitor every other month.
We saw these unusual seeds that we later learned is called the Bread of the Bedouin. (Nidal said that it isn’t eaten, but perhaps it once was as it is a seed.) They almost resemble a sea shell and unroll to uncover the seed. The Latin name is Medicago orbicularis.Modern day Amman was the ancient city of Ammon, the Ammonite capitol. Later during Roman times Amman was a Decapolis city called Philadelphia.
The Petra area in the south was the lands of the Edomites and later the Nabateans occupied this area.
We passed a prison and Marwan said that it was full. Ninety percent are imprisoned due to mishandling money.
The sprawling town of Gadara used basalt for the building material. Here is the theatre. The better seats with backs are up high to see the gorgeous view.
From there you can see Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and Israel. There were wars over lands in 1967 and 1984. One can also see the Sea of Galilee. In Jordan it is called Lake Tiberius. It is the land of Israel so Jordan does not have access to it.
We decided to get a guide as we wanted to better understand the Biblical significance of Gadara. It is here that Jesus exorcised the demons gripping the man living among the tombs. He cast them into the swine and they ran down a steep bank into the lake. This passage is found in the gospels: Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-20,
There was a costumed man greeting us with a cup of juice. He asked if we needed a guide. We said yes. He removed his heavy metal juice container and declared himself our guide.
He did not speak much English nor did he know much about the site. He called us Mum and Pop. We asked to see the famous tombs. We saw many Muslim graves facing Mecca. He did show us one creepy Roman grave that still had the creaking swinging door attached. Here is a picture of the inside.
The Yarmouk River runs from Um Qais to Pella, another city of the Decapolis. The river makes this region very green.
Despite much hiking on our own in the hot sun, there wasn’t much to see in Pella but here is a Roman Odeon. There was no gate or tickets so it isn’t as developed. Additionally, there is no mention of Pella in the Bible although it certainly was an important city in Bible times.
Next, we went to Ajloun Castle. The views from castles are so beautiful as one can see so much of the land.
The castle is surrounded by a dry moat. Rob took a picture from the moat.
Here is the inside where the inhabitants lived! Comfy cozy!
Marwan gets lots of phone calls. He now has his own business and can secure transportation for several companies. His ringtone occurs often when we are together. When I hear it, I know that he is nearby. Here is the name of the song and the video is on YouTube.
AYDİLGE / KİRALIK AŞK – Sen misin İlacım? KLİP
It is a Turkish song so I asked Ertunga what it meant: Rented Love (Are You My Medicine?)