After wandering around the ruins of Jerash and realizing that many of the amazing people I have met are leaving in the next couple of days, I decided that I no longer wanted to live in a hostel. So I've been exploring rooms in flats (don't I sound so English?) in convenient and safe areas. There were two main neighborhoods I am looking at: Jabal Waibdeh and First circle. Jabal Waibdeh is close to where I will be taking Arabic classes and is where all the expats live. First circle is by Rainbow St and is hip neighborhood with lots of stuff to do. I am actually happy that I waited to look for a flat until I was in Amman. Now that I've gotten familiar with the area, I have a better feeling of where I feel safe and where there is a lot to do. I actually found a place, but I'm going to keep it a secret until I move in on Saturday. Look out for a post then.
On Tuesday I went to Jerash, which is AMAZING. It is an archaeological site filled with Roman ruins. If you don't already know, all of Palestine was ruled by the Romans for hundreds of years. Most of the ruins in Jerash are dated between 0CE and 500CE. Some say that Jerash has better Roman ruins than Rome! What was crazy to me was that there were no ropes or "Do Not Enter" signs around the ruins. Visitors can touch and climb all over the artifacts and ruins. It blew my mind that I didn't get yelled at by the security guards policing the area for exploring some of the more hidden relics.
The next day I returned to Jerash with my friends from the hostel to see a concert. We'd seen an ad for the band, called Act of Congress, posted all over Amman. The performance was part of the Jerash Culture and Arts Festival and it was sponsored by the American Embassy. The experience was surreal. Act of Congress is an American bluegrass band. So we saw a country band perform in the Northern Theater (an ancient roman ruin) in the Middle East. Luckily we did get a more authentic cultural experience when the band was finished; a Palestinian dance group then performed to classical Arabic music.
Lastly, I had an amazing and exhausting experience going to a Turkish Bath on Monday. I went with Kifah and Cori, a Peace Corp volunteer who just finished 3 years in Ghana. We knew that the bath closed at 4pm, but of course waited until 3:40pm thinking we would get a taxi. There were no taxis. It was rush hour so we ran (really we walked really fast but running sounds more dramatic. Also, there were stairs, so what do you expect?) Dripping sweat, we made it at 4:01pm. Fortunately, they still took us. It was the most relaxing and exhausting thing I've done so far in Amman. Even more exhausting than walking 2km in 90 degree weather to get there in the first place. I think that my tour book describes it better than I could write (see below).
We think that the writer exaggerated it a little bit; it really was quite fun. The layers of black and dead skin that came off of my body were disgusting, but I'm really glad they aren't there any more.