Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lowest point on Earth

To celebrate Brian's 30th birthday, he and I headed to the Dead Sea last weekend, which is also the lowest point on Earth. We first took Susie to a kennel up in the desert a little north of Amman near Madaba ... which was an experience in itself. Long gone are the days of luxurious Alexandria Doggie Day Care with the couches and webcam.

The route we took from the kennel to the Dead Sea was beautiful...winding roads, valleys, cliffs, and the color of Jordan --- BEIGE. It was a great drive and your ears pop as you descend deeper from elevation into the canyons and valleys.

We stayed at the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar. We got a great rate and ended up with a "villa" (AKA room with a view of the Sea). It was really lovely and the hotel is beautiful, albeit a bit confusing and spread out in a way that neither Brian nor I think makes much sense. There are several pools, a "lazy river" and then of course the Dead Sea. We really loved the adult only Infinity Pool - biggest one we'd ever been in, overlooking the Sea. It was also warm enough to almost be a hot tub, even though the weather was perfect - sunny and probably mid to upper 70's!

The Dead Sea was an experience that I think every single person should have. It begins when they give you a pair of crocs to walk around on the rocky shoreline. You then go to a big bucket where someone has just brought up mud from the bottom of the Dead Sea. You throw away your inhibitions and smear this black mud all over your body. Some people just dabble in it and put some on their arms and legs...and others went to town, and coated their faces, scalp, hair and every inch of skin they could reach. The minerals are supposed to have healing and purifying properties on the skin and hair. You let the mud dry in the warm sun, then you can either rinse the mud off in the Sea or use an outdoor shower. It's more fun to rinse off in the Sea, but because it is SO salty, I don't recommend rinsing off your face in it!!

Speaking of the Sea, it's pretty crazy. Due to the salinity of the water, you literally float on top of the water. It's physically difficult to NOT float, or to try to bob around, because your feet just fly up! It is like sitting on a float ... minus the float. People take reading materials out there, basically sit on the water and read. It's a sight to see, that's for sure, and a really cool experience.

We had a great time, and can't wait to go back - we plan on heading to the Dead Sea a lot in the next few years- even just for a day trip - as it's only 45 minutes away or so. We also can't wait for people to visit (hint hint!) to show off this incredible place!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pics, continued

Additional photos from around our neighborhood

This is looking north (towards the high rise on the left) at Jabal Amman and towards east Amman on the right. Jabal Amman is the older downtown type area with lots of shops and restaurants. It's an area we really enjoy. It looks far away here but only takes us about 5 minutes to get to that tower you see.

This is looking across the wadi towards east Amman.

And a pic of us before another diplomatic function. This one was Italian Military Day ... they served great food and great prosecco, of course!

Here are some recent pics from in and around our neighborhood. I've also included a few of our ongoing move-in process ... we arrived at 3am on 7 October with the susiemonster, 6 bags, and one large dog crate. About a month later (a month?!) we got about 450lbs of 'stuff.' mostly kitchen stuff, some clothes that i had pulled out of storage that had gone into storage before i went to Iraq ... I didn't even recognize half of what came out of that box! Either way it was nice to get some stuff of our own and get this place feeling a little more like home ... it's been a process, but it's slowly coming together and getting better daily.


the aftermath ...
susie was a big help
shots from around our neighborhood ...

views from our balcony

down the street

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My garbage disposal...

...is quite possibly the thing I miss the most about home. Besides my family and friends of course. Susie does a good job at getting rid of extra food, but much like Brian, she doesn't always eat her veggies. Other things that I miss already: Chipotle (yes, ALREADY!! I'll never make it 2 years), sour cream, fresh spinach, central a.c., good steaks.....I'm sure there are others but this will do for now. We are creeping up on a month already! Only 23 months left! Just kidding -- things are going fine now. I may start a job at a preschool here in Amman to fill my days. Apparently, a bachelors degree in Intel Studies, minor in Russian Studies and a Masters Degree in Government indicates that I'm qualified to teach 3-4 year olds their colors! In all honesty, I absolutely love children, and seeing all those kids reminded me of Jack, Livvy Bean and Elizabeth, so of course I felt all warm and fuzzy inside!! We'll see how that works for the forseeable future - I won't make much money at all, but it will get me out of the house!
Nothing else too crazy has happened to us yet - we really are still getting our bearings. We hope our last shipment of stuff comes in the next month or so, considering many of my winter clothes are in there! This was obviously my first time moving overseas because there are many things I will do differently next time!
That's it for now folks, sorry this wasn't too interesting! Will have a fun update for you next week I'm sure!
And happy early 30th birthday to my husband, Brian!!!!!!!!! You old man!!!!