Saturday, August 2, 2008

a backyard field trip

According to Tripadvisor, our hometown of San Diego has 260 points of interest. Contrast that to our current hometown of Amman, Jordan, where Tripadvisor, by a big stretch, counts 9. This week we took an outing to point of interest #9.

Together, just after a shwarma lunch, we grabbed a taxi and headed toward Amman's old downtown (headquarters of the world for pirated DVDs and high-end name brands for under a dollar- Christmas presents are coming your way!). We climbed the main hill in the very heart of downtown, and at the top we found Amman's #9 tourist attraction: the Roman Citadel. For about 3 bucks each, we got to see a Hercules temple, a cistern, baths and a church built in the 2nd century. Most ruins we've seen along the journey have been roped off and protected against tourist invasions. But here in Amman (the ancient biblical city of Philadelphia) things are, let's say, a bit more low key. There aren't any ropes to protect the ruins, and there aren't any ropes to protect the tourists either! (There are some deadly drop offs right around the perimeter of the ancient walls!) So, Joe and I carefully roamed this hilltop gem and took in some of the most beautiful views Amman has to offer. For a long while it was quiet, with only occasional honking horns to remind us of the congested city below. Then, in a moment, that all changed. The skies filled; the sounds echoed from hillside to hillside, pouring into the valleys below. It was time for prayer, and you're completely clueless if you don't know it. The mosques dominate the landscape, they are everywhere, and their music is mesmerizing. In that moment, perched above this old city, we listened. The voices sang over the valleys, singing of God and his greatness, to make haste to come and pray, and how nothing compares to God. It was a powerful moment, and a pretty one too.

Tomorrow, we are finally making the 44 mile trek down these desert hills, through the West Bank, and over to Israel, and for 5 days we will explore this spiritual and controversial land. We know, we know, we'll be careful.

7 comments:

Stuarts said...

Wow. That sounds awesome. And I will be praying for you while you're in Israel - for safety, and for a unique experience as you enter the Holy Land. How extremely cool. I'm living vicariously through you!

Miriam Maneevone said...

Interesting what God uses to call us to pray and be reminded of what a great and awesome God we have. I used to awaken every morning in Woodstock to that call reverberating over the hills over the loud speaker. Maybe that's what instilled and internalized a consistent time to meet with my "Father" which has blessed me until now - as I still carry out the "ritual" though I no longer have the public call to prayer.

Melissa said...

What an unique experience, a snapshot of Jordan you will probably always remember. i can just picture you two there sitting on a stone that is thousands of years old listening to the song surrounding you.

I think I am most envious of where you are going next.I can't wait to hear about it.

anjuli paschall said...

Have a good trip to Israel. Love and hugs with big coats of fur and lined with silk buttons!

kristy said...

good for you- finally heading next door! i know your trip will be full of fascinating things. love it!

Wichit Maneevone said...

I am jealous of this trip in the next 5days. Your eyes will be open and understand much more when you read His story. Love you, dad

Corrie said...

I will be praying for Israel. Soak it all up.