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Monday, October 7: Day 168 – Massachusetts

Today is a day of learning. We stayed at the Ajloun Nature Reserve. The Wild Jordan parks were established through efforts of Queen Rania.

We have a cabin. In the middle of the night we heard some noises. It kind of sounded like a bunch of coyotes but coyotes don’t travel in packs. Not dogs, not wolves but a strange type of barking. Our guide said that they were jackals.

This morning we joined a group from Germany for a morning hike. We waited and waited and waited. I thought that Germans were always on time.

We were happy to visit with all of the guides while we waited for 2½ hours. They were most interested in speaking English with us. Their English was really good. They said that they watch movies to learn to speak. We asked about the movie titles. One was The Avengers. One young man said that his favorite movie is The Green Mile. I thought that was an interesting choice. He said that he likes sad movies. Americans like to leave the theatre happy. Only happy endings where the good guy wins make the big bucks.

Mohammad, our reservationist, especially found the word Massachusetts difficult to pronounce correctly. We must have said it fifty times.


Achoo (like a sneeze)


Now put it all together and say it without pausing. I told him that it was good, and he really didn’t need to practice it so much since odds of needing to use it are next to nil.

Mohammad majored in English Literature in college. He said that it was very hard. That is a hard major for an English speaker.

Here are “the guys” from left to right: Rafat, our guide, Rob, Marwan (the second one), Mohammad, and Hussein.

At last, the Germans arrived. They were interested in our journey, moreso that we sold our house. A German would not do that as they have deep connections to their homes. Americans are more mobile. Most people don’t want to remain in their home after retirement. Also, the size of our homes often makes it a burden to maintain once the children have left to start lives of their own.

Odds are next to nil that we will see some wildlife with 20 of us traipsing through the reserve.

This is a wild pistachio tree. We tasted them. The red seeds were very small. I prefer the domestic ones but if I had to live off the land, this would be good to know.

After our guided hike, we toured The Biscuit House. The place produces and features handmade Jordanian items. We tried six different types of biscuits (cookies). We bought a package of two types.

Do you think that every country has a Monopoly board? Here is one featuring places in Jordan.

There are many types of bread. Not like in America with breads made of different types of grain, but different shapes and uses.

Marwan could name eight types of kobiz (bread):

Kobiz sh’rak – schwarma wrap

Kobiz Arabic – for hummus

Kobiz lebani – thick

Kobiz tennour – thin and big

Kobiz Hamam – for sandwiches

Kobiz Franzi – for big sandwiches

Kobiz Mashrouh

Kobiz Taboon – We stopped at a backroads home to get some of this special bread. It was still warm and it was just taken out of these ovens in the ground that have hot coals on the bottom. The dough is put directly on the coals.

This is also Kobiz Taboon although it isn’t made in the underground oven. I really like their eco-friendly and edible bread cover to keep the meal warm. We should use this instead of aluminum foil.

We ate lunch at The Biscuit House. The waiter brought our place setting. Since it was different than what I am used to seeing, I wondered why it matters where the spoon goes, etc. and who decided anyway? I learned that a place setting varies with culture and historical period.

Our last stop was the Jabbok River. The modern day name is Zarqa River. It is a popular picnic spot.

Jabbok is the place where Jacob wrestled with the Lord. It is where he made his total surrender to God, where he got his new character, and new name – Israel. It is the place where he cast down his last idol, and won his greatest victory.

A Christian has three crossings in life:

1) Cross the Red Sea – out of the slavery of sin to a life of freedom. Many people get stuck here wandering through the desert of confusion and fear. They never get to the Promised Land.

2) Cross the Jordan River – commitment and desire to grow and serve Christ and live a life of praise. Blessings in the promised Land. Here one can rest in the Lord.

3) Cross the Jabbok River – One comes to Jabbok when desperate! You have to come to the end of yourself. Nothing is held back. Total surrender.

For more details, click on the link below. It is an interesting, impactful article. It took Jacob a lifetime to get i!!

Crossing the Jabbok

We eat cucumbers at every meal. They are a fruit (yes) and have many health benefits. Hydration may be one of the biggest benefits in this dry, arid region.

There are some children who come up to the cars wanting food or to sell us something even when they should be in school. Marwan feels that this is more of a parent problem.

When we go to a hotel that caters to large groups, the dining rooms look like a bunch of locusts have preceded us. Even though all of the tables are vacant, they are full of dirty dishes.

There are three main roads in the south:

Amman to Aqaba=Desert Highway (larger roads like our interstates with divided lanes)

Dead Sea to Aqaba=Dead Sea Way

Madaba to Aqaba=Kings Way

Kings Way is an ancient road and was used during the kingdoms of Moab, Ammon, and Edom.

We have discovered a new road:

Marwan Way=The fastest way using backroads!!!

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