Monday, May 18, 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Childrens Be All Travelin' and Stuff

A hint of Jonathon's Adventure Jordan:

A hint of Rebecca and Nicholas Team Viet Nam:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Katie Rocks.

We got a very fun surprise in the mail this week.

Snacks for Ian.

And an awesome bag for me!
Totally unexpected and totally cool.  Thank you Katie!!  We love our Bangladeshi Paleo surprise.

Dihdis turned 15....

At 1 very cute years old.

Friday, April 17, 2015

From Qasrs to Wetland

After the Qasrs we had lunch at the Azraq Lodge which is run by the Royal Society for the Preservation of Nature (RSCN) just like the castles and the wetland.  The original part of the building was used as a WWII British field hospital.  The establishment is now a restaurant and lodge.  Jonathon stayed overnight there in 6th grade on his class field trip.

One part of the wetland
The wetland is another misnomer. Only 20 years ago, the wetlands were a source of revenue from fishing.   Due to high volume pumping it shrank to a tiny portion of its original size and even with a water infusion a few years ago, it really hasn't recovered. What once covered acres with a wide variety of wild life is now no more than a good sized pond. There is but one kind of fish and far too much stuff growing in there to support more.  If you're quiet by the water, you hear what sounds like poprocks going off.  I don't know enough about these particular fish to know if it's normal, but for -other- fish I know that the gasping sound means there isn't enough oxygen in the water for them.

Water buffalo used to help manage the plant growth in the water.  They were all eaten or something, but a not long ago a few were reintroduced to the preserve in an effort to have them get back to work.

Watching for birds

Watching for water buffalo

Love it!

Unfortunately, the wetland continues to die.  We saw a blue heron.  We saw a white heron.  We saw some form of duck - four of them!  We saw sparrow type birds, and some typical pigeony sorts.

That's it folks.

Dead tree.

Another dead tree on what used to be a flooded area of the reserve.
Kind of was a downer of a way to end the trip.

Qasrs in the Desert

Today's CLO adventure brought us to three desert castles.  "Castle" is a pretty good misnomer for all three.

Qasr Kharana

Qasr Kharana was a waystation.  A place for travelers and caravans to rest after a long trek. A lodging.  Each of those arch topped openings was a general space with bedrooms off to the sides.  Dark, windowless, filled with vermin and and a basilisk or two. The rooms were pitch black there was no telling what was in them.

Kids with Qasr Kharana
Some thought for a while that the building was a fort.  It gives off a "fort" air, no?  Those narrow windows, the curved entry.  The windows are actually ventilation as they are far too narrow and deep for warfare, and the curved entry and corners were decorative only and not watch towers.

Qasr Amra

Qasr Amra is nothing like a castle.  Look how tiny it is!  In fact, if Qasr Amra and Qasr Kharana were closer, say spitting distance, they'd be perfect together.  Qasr Amra is a bath house.  Tiny on the outside, even tinier on the inside as it has multiple rooms, each a step in the cleansing process - one for steaming, one for scrubbing, one for cooling, etc.  Putting 4 full-dressed Americans in one of those rooms felt like we were getting far too friendly.  I imagine that back when Qasr Amra was used strangers were much more comfortable getting reeeealy close really fast.  After a hard day out, who cares about personal space.

Wall art in Qasr Amra

Ceiling art in Qasr Amra

Kids with Qasr Amra
Admit it... it belongs on Tatooine.

Qasr Azraq is where Lawrence of Arabia stayed.  That's his window.

Qasr Azraq is in the middle of the town of Azraq.  Even though the town is surrounded by the black rocks of the region, the castle looks like parts have been picked apart for their stones.

Kids in Qasr Azraq.  I can't recall, but I think he bit his lip.
It too is not a castle, this one actually is a fort - with high walls, rooms for lodging, stables, shops, and right in the center a separate mosque building.  The fort has two arched entrances and a lot of collapsed roofs.

Desert castles - check.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Nature Sucks.

It may be green well past Amman's normal green time, but just because it's green doesn't mean it's welcoming.

Enough said.