Sunday, August 24, 2008


The Colonnade at Jarash, Jordan
Roman, 1stC BC

The Traveller and I toured the Middle East. I had done some work in Jordan, and had not had the chance to share my excitement about the country with The Traveller, so this was an opportunity to do so. Having taken that decision, it was easy to decide to carry on and explore Syria and Iran as well.

We started flying to Doha in Qatar, where we had to spend a night in a hotel before flying on to Amman. You don’t see much of anything during such breaks, and indeed all I photographed was the view from our bedroom window. It is a strange place. There are strips of green, and then barren desert and a few scruffy buildings. The traffic jam on the highway gives an indication that it is not all barren, but equally there are places in the city where not only is it barren, but itinerant locals reside in long black tents surrounded by flocks of goats. One can only wonder what the goats find to eat.

The temperature was about 40oC and the humidity 99%. This seemed to be normal. In the evening, when it started to get a little cooler, I ventured out of the front door. There stood a large (2m high) brass lamp with coloured panes of glass, illuminated, and above it, in flashing neon, a crescent moon and star. This was the first indication of a Ramadan decoration - and our first surprise, as we hadn’t realized you celebrated Ramadan at all, let alone with bright lights and decorations.

The next day we flew to Amman, in Jordan, and arrived late in the afternoon. In the setting sun, our hotel window now showed a Roman fort, and the real adventure had begun!

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