Saturday, March 25, 2006

The last few weeks, some future plans, and the DESERT

This is going to be real quick, but I'm trying real hard to keep on top of this blog! Everything is fine here in Jordan. I'm continuing to enjoy life, and although there remains constant battles, I feel as if my Arabic has improved, I've learned much about this part of the world, and true cultural and religious bridges have been built. That's all I can ask for! The graduate school picture for next year has become more clear, but I am still waiting to hear from some schools, both about acceptance and the all-important financial aid.

Let's see. Other than the normal schedule of Arabic lectures and private tutoring, research and classes on ME politics, and the social engagements, I am still doing quite a bit of exploring Jordan and the region. Two weekends ago, I had an absolutely wonderful weekend with Anne in Nazareth. Last weekend, some friends and I spent a day exploring the desert castles of Eastern Jordan (see pictures). In the weekend, I will spend the night with a friend in Libb (rural village near Madaba). This will certainly require a post, as staying with him is always fascinating. Although he works a modern job in Amman, he and his family are traditional Bedouins in their outlook on life. Last time I stayed with him, I came home and wrote about 15 pages of observations. Perhaps I will combine some of those notes with some new stuff. I am excited though, as rarely are you given that kind of an opportunity to really connect with someone so different from yourself, especially in their own home. The big event is coming in mid April, when Will, another Fulbrighter, and I are going to Oman for a week. Oman is such a wierd place with unique geography and history. I'll let you know more about it as the time approaches.

Pictures are below. Also take a look at my last post, because I added pictures there as well. Finally, for all you MESPers, there was an article written in the New York Times on Essam Eryan. Remember him? The Muslim Brotherhood guy who spoke to our group in Cairo. The link is

Okay, that's all for now. I hope you are all doing well. Have a great day.

Qasr Hraneh. Although it looks like a castle or fort, in reality, it was probably a trading post or meeting center for the Umayyad Dynasty (based in Damascus- mid 7th-mid 8th Century) to shore up support from the local Bedouin tribes.

Qusayr 'Amra. Built by the Umayyads around 715, it is believed to have been a sort of 'retreat' for the Umayyad rulers, where they could escape the big city life, hunt, and even get in touch with their Bedouin routes. Some scholars have speculated that they also came to the desert in order to learn the Modern Standard Arabic, which at that time, was still spoken by the Bedouin tribes (but not in Damascus). The inside is decorated with all sorts of fascinating frescoes, such as naked women, animals dancing and playing instruments, and angels.

Qasr Azraq. Originally built by the Romans, it's made of Basalt. Although it was used by the Umayyads and Ottomans as well, the castle is most famous because it is where Lawrence of Arabia stayed duting the winter of 1917 during the Arab Revolt of 1916-1918 against the Ottoman Empire.


Blogger Scotter said...

The winter home of Lawrence of Arabia? He had such a promising career ahead of him before he went native. Arabia ruined his life, he even had to change his name. I've decided that I am blaming him for all the current problems in the Middle East. Without him encouraging Arabs to take up arms, Ottoman imperialism could have been easily exchanged for British and French imperialism. Imperialism is a proven system in the ME. Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Ottomans, and fill in the blank all had their turn and maintained order for hundreds of years apiece. Although, Britain and France were past their imperialistic prime. If only Teddy Roosevelt had been president instead of Wilson during World War I, then America would have embraced its imperialist destiny and we would have had Iraq's oil 80 some years ago. So maybe I should blame a lack of American imperial ambitions for all the current problems in the Middle East. Yep that's it, more imperialism from America is the solution to all the world's problems.

8:17 PM

Blogger Emily said...

What schools have you applied to for Grad school? are you staying in the ME? Will you be in Jordan around the time of this coming Christmas (Brad and I will be visiting my parents).
Ok enough with my 20 questions.

4:29 PM


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