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Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010


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    [post_content] => "Never say a bad word about the King," warned Linda as we walked down the road to the local supermarket. David, Peter, Christina, and I got the chance to pick her brain about various political and economic issues in Jordan. Among other topics, we discussed the monarchy, tribe alliances, globalization, Israel, and anti- americanism. We were interested to hear the Jordanian arguments of complex issues that we are only exposed to from an American point of view. Over the last few days, we have been studying arabic and learning about middle eastern culture. It is important for us, especially the girls, to understand what is appropriate and dress and act accordingly. We got a chance to walk around downtown Aqaba to interact with the locals and check out the scene. We stopped to get dinner and we had the chance to try the local aqaban fish. Some enjoyed the meal more than others, but it's all part of learning the culture. Everyone is getting along well and the group is beginning to really come together. These first few days have been great and I can't wait for the trek!
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Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

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From Francesca

Francesca H.,Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

Description

"Never say a bad word about the King," warned Linda as we walked down the road to the local supermarket. David, Peter, Christina, and I got the chance to pick her brain about various political and economic issues in Jordan. Among other topics, we discussed the monarchy, tribe alliances, globalization, Israel, and anti- americanism. We […]

Posted On

07/2/10

Author

Francesca H.

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Even though i have just woken up for the third time on this trip i can already truly say this has been an amazing experience. Jordan, specifically Aquaba, is beautiful! To arrive at our little shileles right on the red sea was the perfect remedy to the anxiety and stress i had to deal with over the hectic past day of travelling.

And while swimming in the Red Sea and walking through the streets of Aquaba surely do offer aesthetically pleasing sights; it has been the culture, not the views, that have given me the best experience yet. To observe the way the Jordanians greet each other with such fondness and exitement has made it quite obvious how intimate and important relationships are to these people. Their kindness towards us and their emphatic exitement towards our attempt to learn Arabic has made this foreign experience much more comfortable than i thought it would be. There seems to be a natural trust among the people here that just does not exist in America.

Well I know this was short and i have not exactly recapped any of the exiting things we have done so far but i have to go eat breakfest! I will write again soon.

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Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

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From Phil

Phil Drake,Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

Description

Even though i have just woken up for the third time on this trip i can already truly say this has been an amazing experience. Jordan, specifically Aquaba, is beautiful! To arrive at our little shileles right on the red sea was the perfect remedy to the anxiety and stress i had to deal with […]

Posted On

07/2/10

Author

Phil Drake

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    [post_content] => Momentarily locked out of our house, half of our group sat outside on a terrace overlooking the glowing city of Aqaba. Our jokes about our various cab drivers or strange encounters from the day were instantaneously hushed as the Muezziins's call to prayer drifted over the thousands of small, bare houses. We sat in silence as tons of voices blended together into a single song. It's amazing how, at a single moment, residents and travellers alike, can share in silence. Everyone was connected. As the call to prayer came to a close, fireworks boomed in the far distance of Aqaba, literally bringing light to the divide between Jordan and Israel. In the days to come, I look forward to a similar, figurative light being shed on all of us as we encounter new people, places, and traditions. Yallah! 
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Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

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From Lizzy

Lizzy Weiss,Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

Description

Momentarily locked out of our house, half of our group sat outside on a terrace overlooking the glowing city of Aqaba. Our jokes about our various cab drivers or strange encounters from the day were instantaneously hushed as the Muezziins’s call to prayer drifted over the thousands of small, bare houses. We sat in silence […]

Posted On

07/1/10

Author

Lizzy Weiss

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One Long Trip Later - Peter Wade

After the chaos of JFK, the ten hour flight, the slow crossing through the Jordanian border, and the loss of two bags, we have made it to Jordan. Dispite the Chaos, we all made it into Jordan and adjusted to the time zone almost perfectly. Now comes the more daunting task of adjusting to a culture that is so wildly different from our own and learning enough arabic to at least get by. We spent our first night in a camp some distance out of town, and awoke to a high sun over the red sea, a welcome to this land that, for the next six weeks, will be our home. We spent the day relaxing and taking in the scenery, all the while trying to avoid the scorching heat and summer sun. That evening, we decided to have a welcome swim in the red sea, and walked down to the beach. We oberved the women in their full Abayas and the men in their shorts, and decided to wander to a less populated stretch of the beach. Everything was fine, until someone stepped on a sea urchin. Everyone recovered however, and we spent the night playing card games, listening to music, and watching the sun slowly set over the mountains of Isreal.

The following morning, we awoke and prepared to head into the thriving, yet laid back, city of Aqaba. We moved into our new bed and breakfast, an ecolodge overlooking the city o f Aqaba, a thin stretch of barren land, and then the Isreali city Eilat, and the mountains of Isreal in the distance. After a short nap, a cultural adjustment that we have all embraced very vibrantly, we headed into the shopping distrit of Aqaba to gain an understanding of our surroundings, and ate a typical southern Jordanian meal of fish, rice, and vegatables. We are still attempting to adjust to the sounds, smells, and culture of our new home, but some of us have bravely charged into spice shops and grocey stores, as we wandered the streets of Aqaba. As I sit here writing this to you all, a cool sea wind in blowing over me, bringing the smells of the fresh ocean and the sun baked sand. In front of me, the lights of this developing city fill the streets as merchants sell flatscreen TV's and cameras while the ancient call to prayer is sung from the tops of Minarets.

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Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

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From Peter

Peter Wade,Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

Description

One Long Trip Later – Peter Wade After the chaos of JFK, the ten hour flight, the slow crossing through the Jordanian border, and the loss of two bags, we have made it to Jordan. Dispite the Chaos, we all made it into Jordan and adjusted to the time zone almost perfectly. Now comes the […]

Posted On

07/1/10

Author

Peter Wade

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    [post_content] => We've arrived in Aqaba city and are now accessing internet - from here on in, we will do our best to post daily yaks from the group whenever we have internet access! If not, we'll let you know when we will be out of range, and when we expect to be ''back.'' Hope that you are enjoying your summer as much as we are enjoying ours!
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Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

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In Aqaba!

Alena Bartoli,Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

Description

We’ve arrived in Aqaba city and are now accessing internet – from here on in, we will do our best to post daily yaks from the group whenever we have internet access! If not, we’ll let you know when we will be out of range, and when we expect to be ”back.” Hope that you […]

Posted On

07/1/10

Author

Alena Bartoli

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Dear Jordan/Syria parents,

We just heard from the Jordan/Syria instructor team. Some students were not able to post yaks today due to time constraints, tired bodies and minds, etc. However, yaks from the rest of the student group should be posted tomorrow.

At this stage the group is probably asleep below a starry Jordanian sky.

More tomorrow!

Boulder Admin

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Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

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More Yaks to Come!

Elizabeth Johnson,Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

Description

Dear Jordan/Syria parents, We just heard from the Jordan/Syria instructor team. Some students were not able to post yaks today due to time constraints, tired bodies and minds, etc. However, yaks from the rest of the student group should be posted tomorrow. At this stage the group is probably asleep below a starry Jordanian sky. […]

Posted On

07/1/10

Author

Elizabeth Johnson

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    [post_content] => In what seems to be an increasingly dishonest world, nations such as Jordan set the bar as bastions of honor and moral responsibility. Prior to my visit to Jordan I was told traveling horror stories of theft and deceit in the Middle East. It seems nothing can be further from the truth. It is safe in this small nation to leave ones' car unlocked on the side of the street and not fear for its safety. Both our group leaders have told us stories of cab drivers seeking victims of self unawareness out in order to return lost items. In the states we are often told of the oppression of Muslim women. Upon firsthand experience I can honostly say that the women of Jordan carry themselves, under their veils, with pride. It is not a matter of being forced to wear the Nik'ab but rather a choice by them to do what they see as sexually responsible. It is an odd thing to view a group of individuals who pride themselves in morality and follow through with this pride in their actions. Hypocrisy it seems, has little place here. (Excuse the typoes.) 
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Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

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From Matt

Matt Rodriguws,Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

Description

In what seems to be an increasingly dishonest world, nations such as Jordan set the bar as bastions of honor and moral responsibility. Prior to my visit to Jordan I was told traveling horror stories of theft and deceit in the Middle East. It seems nothing can be further from the truth. It is safe […]

Posted On

07/1/10

Author

Matt Rodriguws

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    [post_content] => Today was GLORIOUS! After we made our way from the Ministry of Education's scout camp north/east into the city of Aqaba we settled down at the hospitable ecolodge b+b, hosted by Theo, the Dutchman who reminded us that tomorrow, July 2, is not only his 38th birthday but also the Holland-Brazil World Cup Match! Even though we took it pretty slowly today, I think we got to know each other so well. Everyone seems to get along like old friends and everyone is excited to be here! There was a lot of bonding over how beautiful and mesmirizing we found the view to be from Theo's rooftop, as we can see across the sea all the way to Israel. The sky seemed unnaturally blue, without a cloud in sight. We shared stories of family members, individual interests and life back home, but discussed looking forward to the group life cycle of forming, storming, norming and performing. After lunch, the first meal we were fully responsible for providing for the group from scratch, we rested and then went to explore Aqaba. As a woman unused to worrying about being alone in public at home, I had to wrap my head around the idea that its unusual and can be unsafe for women to walk alone on the street, but it was comforting to have the boys in the group be so careful and protective of us girls. Dinner was an adventure as we all tried to dissect and digest the local fish. Although it was frustrating at first when we forgot basic words and grammar, our instructors (particularly Linda) were extremely encouraging and as a table we worked out how to order more water - something I won't forget in a hurry! (Biddi maah, min fadlak) We were rewarded not only with confused looks from the waiter and eventually 2 cold bottles of water, but with a local treat similar to sprite, called "Mirinda", which tasted like liquid, guava-flavoured candy. As our day drew to a close back at the ecolodge, we went through our evening meeting overlooking the brightly-lit city and across the water. Today I was grateful for all the people around me and the effort everyone puts forth to make this experience even more amazing. It seems like a lifetime ago we left JFK, but according to my watch its been just 3 days. Tonight we sleep on the balcony/roof under the stars and fall asleep to the fireworks and music of the two traditional weddings taking place nearby.
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Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

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From Bex

Rebecca Marrow,Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

Description

Today was GLORIOUS! After we made our way from the Ministry of Education’s scout camp north/east into the city of Aqaba we settled down at the hospitable ecolodge b+b, hosted by Theo, the Dutchman who reminded us that tomorrow, July 2, is not only his 38th birthday but also the Holland-Brazil World Cup Match! Even […]

Posted On

07/1/10

Author

Rebecca Marrow

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    [post_content] => Okay, so, thing is? The days here are long. It's physically impossible for there to be more hours in a day over here, and we don't stay up much longer-in fact. I think I actually stayed up longer at home. It doesn't seem like it. This morning seemed like it was three days ago. The only thing convincing me that it was, in fact, today is my journal. Well, my journal and the urchin spines in my hand Ow. The people here are amazingly friendly and encouraging when they realize that you're studying Arabic-especially the cabbies. My journal is filling at a progidous rate, and my camara is almost 1/3 full, thanks to my twin tendancies of video journaling and photogrphing everything. (See, Dad? I told you not to worry.) It's late, Tissbillah al-khair. Signing off.
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Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

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From Nick

Nick Francalangia,Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

Description

Okay, so, thing is? The days here are long. It’s physically impossible for there to be more hours in a day over here, and we don’t stay up much longer-in fact. I think I actually stayed up longer at home. It doesn’t seem like it. This morning seemed like it was three days ago. The […]

Posted On

07/1/10

Author

Nick Francalangia

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    [post_content] => We meandered out of the bed and breakfast, down dusty streets flanked with houses marooned in sand. Linda led the way on our trek to the grocery store, discussing everything from the history of Jordanian-Israeli relations to New England weather as oppossed to that of Jordan. Though how tired we got on a 10 minute grocery run doesn't bode well for our desert expedition, the shopping center was certainly worth the trouble. The mix of stores alone highighted the clash between globalization and local industry - there were Gap logos plastered next to local Arabic companies. Once there, we got to sample a salty, sour drink that was probably one of the more traumatizing sensory experiences I've had the privilege of experiencing (I purposefully forgot its name in order to avoid any perverse urge to try it again). The merchandise was a mix of American staples and Jordanian groceries (incuding a brand called American Gardens that solely manufactured tinned chicken) and 1 JD shoes. After some challenging encounters in Arabic, we actually did manage to make the arduous uphill hike back to the Bed and Breakfast with enough pasta to feed the group (even with Nick's appetite).
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Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

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From David

David Ryan,Jordan and Syria: Crossroads of Tradition & Modernity, Summer 2010

Description

We meandered out of the bed and breakfast, down dusty streets flanked with houses marooned in sand. Linda led the way on our trek to the grocery store, discussing everything from the history of Jordanian-Israeli relations to New England weather as oppossed to that of Jordan. Though how tired we got on a 10 minute […]

Posted On

07/1/10

Author

David Ryan

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