One more day as a hotel guest.
Note: this post was written on Sunday, May 13. It hasn’t been modified, even though I’m posting it two weeks after it was written. Just pretend you’re reading it on May 13.
Today, Sunday, was our final full day as guests in a hotel. Tomorrow morning we’ll be checking out and meeting our host families at SIT. The big yellow bus- not a school bus- is waiting outside. We’re all going on a bus tour of Amman today, with (all too brief) stops at the King Abdullah I Mosque, downtown at an ancient Roman Amphitheatre and up to the Citadel, where the Temple of Hercules, or what is left of what it once was, sits perched above the busy streets of modern Amman. I remember this day last year, when the sky was overcast and gray. Raindrops fell intermittently, and as a result we were rushed back onto the bus. I thought maybe this year, with clear blue skies, we would be allowed to explore more on our own.
I was wrong. 45 minutes, be back on the bus. Half an hour, be back on the bus. Ugh. This is why I hate traveling in packs, being herded around like an animal. I find the views from the Citadel and the sound of the call to prayer echoing in the city below to be breathtaking, and think these sites deserved more than a passing glance. Yes, this is my second time seeing these sites, but both visits were not my own. They were controlled visits, designed and meant to be brief.
If it were up to me, I would have spent the better part of the afternoon up there, looking down over the bustling beige city of Amman. But, it wasn’t up to me. After climbing up to the top and to the edge with my friends Sam, Melissa and Matt, we posed for a few goofy shots; the prom picture, jumping shots, almost falling over shots. (Thank goodness for self-timer, and that no one actually fell off.) See some of the pictures from the day below:
At the end of the night, we all went to Top (pics in the gallery above), a restaurant I did not dine in last year. This was a nice surprise. Everything to this point felt exactly as it did last year, but with a new group of people, not quite take two. Tonight was the first truly unique part of the trip. The food was delicious, fresh, bursting with flavor. I scooped salad onto my plate, and covered a heaping pile of rice with chicken and vegetables. The meal was one I won’t soon forget, and moments after I thought I was full, dessert was served. Naturally, I was going to try a piece. I didn’t get the name, but it was similar to the Greek pastry called galaktoboureko, which is crispy, syrupy dough filled with a custard. This variety was also topped by rumbled pistachios. Mmmm mmm, good. I also got to see another friendly face; Morgan arrived from Paris in time to join the group for dinner at Top. (Morgan, Joe and I are the three veterans this year. We three traveled to Jordan and Turkey last year.)