The owner of Caravan-Serai Tours, Rita Zawaideh, is in Jordan right now and has sent her daily diary to be posted on the blog so you can get a first hand account of what she is seeing there. Her family is there and she is staying at their farm just outside the city of Madaba. They grow olives, grapes, and other foods, and raise a few animals. The Jordan office is also in Madaba. The posts are being broken up into smaller pieces, and here are the first few days. Photos to be posted soon too! Enjoy!
Sept 8: After 14 hours of flying I arrived at Beirut airport. I was making a connection to Amman from here and I was really surprised at how full the Beirut-Amman flight was. I was trying to figure out why and started asking people -most of them it seems are Lebanese that usually drive to Jordan to see relatives, but because of the situation in Syria they’re flying. The airlines have added more flights to be able to handle all the traffic going both ways. No one is driving since they are not sure of the situation and what is happening from day to day. A lot of the problems, I was told, are at the border towns.
The flight took off on time and I finally arrived in Amman at 6pm after having left Seattle at 10am on the 7th. I had my nieces and nephews meet me at the airport for arrival and then I was driven to the house about 30 minutes away in the town of Madaba.
Sept 9: Waking up to peace and quiet, not really feeling anything of the world around me. Sat outside in the orchard with the grapes dangling down and being able to pick them and eat fresh grapes off the vine, the kids bringing in bread with thyme and oil, leben (a yogurt without water similar to cream cheese but so much better for you), olives, jam, white cheese – a feast fit for a king. There is a nice breeze and the smell of jasmine. I eat away and have my tea while sitting on a rocking sofa, day dreaming. I enjoy talking to the kids and relaxing, getting over the jet lag.
In the afternoon we go to the office to check on reservations for clients. Up the street is a salon and I am able to have my brows done with string – a traditional way of plucking them. It hurt but is so fast and lasts a lot longer then using wax!
Sept 10: We start to cook for the clients that are here in Jordan – they have been invited to the farm for a traditional Jordanian meal. We are making grapes leaves, stuffed zucchini, tabbouleh (parsley salad,) rocca salad (made from arugula) yogurt and cucumber salad, humus, chicken sumac rolls, stuffed pastries with cheese, spinach, sausage, so much food. The group comes by 1pm, they have no idea that I am in Jordan and are surprised that I am here. We visit for a couple of hours and eat and they get to meet the rest of the family. We then send them on their way to Kerak and then to Petra to spend the night.
Tonight friends come over and we have a nice night of music and dancing and just playing around. Lots of discussions about what is happening in the region, but really no feeling or idea of what is going on around us. It is so strange since in the states I am glued to the news.