Thursday, 23 August 2012

Amman Revisited

A cool long-eared goat!
We had a relaxed breakfast with Ramsey and two of his sisters, Waad (2.5 years old) and Ward (the eldest of his sisters).  It was a delicious traditional meal with fresh flat bread, cheese, olives, eggs fried in pure ghee, home-made jam (I think we finished the jar...), mini apple pies that Waad had baked for fun - all accompanied by sweet tea and cardoman spiced coffee which was so aromatic and flavoursome.  

We eventually decided we could eat no more and headed off for another try at visiting the ancient town of Janesh.  It was worth the retry, as this time we were actually able to enter and see how massive and well preserved the site is.  The old Roman roads are still intact and the two amphitheatres have such great acoustics that they still hold concerts there.   

Janesh ruins
We continued onto an Islamic castle built strategically on the top of a largest hill in the area and from which we could see all the way to Syria.  Ramsey told us that they used to frequently go on holidays to Damascus as it was a considered a 'cheap' holiday destination and was a beautiful city, but for obvious reasons he hasn't been in a while, very sad situation.

Our next stop was less touristy as we went to see Ramsey's farm, where he has started an olive grove.  It's a beautiful hillside that is divided amongst numerous owners and the plot next to Ramsey's is owned by his uncle, who happened to be there tending to his trees.  We were offered tea from his thermos and also a drink from his new clean well before the phone call came through from Ramsey's Mother telling us that lunch was waiting so we hurriedly moved us on.   

The 1st serving of lunch (the cooked yoghurt is on the LHS)
It was nearing 4pm by the time we made it back for lunch, and it was a good thing that we hadn’t eaten since breakfast and were hungry as Ramsey's mother had laid on a feast.   The table was almost filled with a massive platter overflowing with saffron rice with what we're sure was almost an entire carved lamb on top.  As an accompaniment, along with cooked greens straight from their garden, we had a bowl of cooked yoghurt which is an Ammanian specialty and is either spooned over the rice or drunk directly from the bowl – something new that we’d never tried before.  It goes without saying that the entire meal was marvelous, and definitely one of the best we’ve eaten anywhere in the world.

Once we were sufficiently stuffed, and Ramsey's mother had deemed we'd eaten enough as she thought we were in need of fattening up, we retired to the lounge room to enjoy a digestive tea.  It wasn't long, however, before Sarah was whisked away by an excited Waad to the other lounge room where all the girls (all the girls = Ramsey's four sisters, his Mother, Auntie and her two daughters) were relaxing, leaving Dave and the men to their manly business while finishing the tea.

Sarah's hand decorated in Arabic script
Ward had learned that Sarah enjoys art as a hobby and asked her to decorate the hands of Waad and her cousins of similar age with some henna.  It was a bit nerve-racking as everyone was watching and there is definitely some skill required with how to apply the henna so it doesn't go blotchy!  Sarah’s attempt at a koala ended up looking somewhat like a big-eared monkey… Oh well, at least it wasn't permanent!  In return another of Ramsey's sisters decorated Sarah's hand with her name in the Arabic alphabet and it looked very cool as she had had a lot of practice doing it! 

The evening approached quickly as we both enjoyed our respective company in either room, but all too soon we were heading towards the airport for the second time.  This time we made it with half an hour to spare, but even so Ramsey waited until he saw us enter through customs before he left, just in case there was another complication!  Despite having to reschedule our flight we were in fact really grateful for the chance it gave us to experience authentic Jordanian hospitality and to meet and spend time with Ramsey’s lovely family, our short time spent with them was one of the highlights of our trip and time we will cherish.  

1 comment:

  1. thank you Davde and Sare's , I really enjoyed your visit .


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