On Sunday, I had my very first day of school at Qasid. I quickly found out that this particular class used a different version of the book then I use at Notre Dame. The class was great, and of course, the teacher was amazing, but I asked to be moved to another specialized class that followed the same curriculum and books that Notre Dame does. On Tuesday, I went to my new class with other students from NC State and Yale.
This Friday we went to Madaba and Mount Nebo. Madaba is a Christian town south-west of Amman. It is best known for its insanely cool mosaics and archaeological sights. We chose to go there because it is a Christian town which means some restaurants and sights will be open on Fridays, even during Ramadan. We got there with our trusty guidebook and went to the first stop on the tour, “Madaba Archaeological Park”. We started wandering around aimlessly (there were no descriptions) until the guy we bought tickets from offered to give us a tour! He was very knowledgable and there were so many cool things at this site. In this park there was a Roman Street, Hippolytus Hall (6th century), Church of the Virgin Mary (6th century), the crypt of St. Elianus (595 AD), as well as the Mosaic Exibition which includes a mosaic from King Herod’s Fortress (as in Bible Herod!). He showed us his mosaic shop after the tour and even showed us how they are made! After the tour, he helped us set up a ride to/from Mount Nebo with his brother, a taxi driver, for later that day. I am continuously amazed at how helpful and welcoming people here are!
We then went to several historical sites, one of which was a Greek Orthodox Church of Saint John the Baptist. We looked around a bit and then discovered a staircase that led to the bell tower. it was unclear whether or not we were allowed up, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity! After climbing up to the very top, we had an amazing view of all of Madaba.
After lunch, we went to Mount Nebo with our friendly taxi driver. He was very chatty and showed us pictures of his adorable 3 year old daughter on the way! Mount Nebo is the place where Moses saw the promised land, but he died before reaching it. Some people think he even may have been buried in the mountain. From this point, you can see a lot of the West Bank, the Dead Sea, Jericho, and even Jerusalem on a good day. It was amazing to be there, not only because of its religious significance but its historical significance as well. I didn’t expect, coming to a Muslim country, to visit so many places that relate to my own religion. After Mount Nebo, our driver showed us a Bedoin camp where we talked with some of the Bedoins. Then, our driver took us to an awesome restaurant and then back home to Amman.