Saturday, January 12, 2013

Busy Saturday

Yesterday two of the kids had a horseback riding lesson.  If a week of rain and snow was really lovely, then the mud and muck at a horse stable after the rain and snow was really icky. The outdoor ring was basically a muddy swimming pool. Thankfully the lesson was in the partially covered ring so the mud was a little less but with a roof and a little sunshine comes sliding sheets of snow.  The horses were unimpressed with the sudden noises and tried valiantly to shy off back to their cozy stables.  The kids worked on stopping, starting, posting while holding reins, keeping their feet right both in the stirrups and out.  They enjoyed it quite a bit.  Even better, Jonathon finally got the rhythm and looked good doing it.  Horseback riding isn't cheap, but it's something Rebecca has wanted to do for ages, and it's still cheaper here than it is in the States.  Jonathon loves animals and being outside and active, so it's a good fit for him as well.

Yes, she made that face on purpose.
We said hello to the miniature ponies and the donkey.
Saturday morning Ian and I ventured out on the CLO trip to the King Hussein Bin Talal Mosque and the Royal Automobile Museum.  I didn't take any photos in the museum as, well, it's a bunch of cars owned by kings.  As expected they are Porches and Rolls Royces and the like.  Very pretty, very expensive.  The museum is actually quite nice, very modern and clean, and there's a lot of history in that small space.  But at the heart of it is still a collection of cars.  Oh, and motorcycles.  Kings do like power and speed.

The central chandelier.
The mosque, on the other hand, was just lovely.  Once we traversed the treacherous paths and stairs, all marble and covered with a very fine sheet of ice, we learned the interior can hold 2500-3000 men. Only men, of course.  Women, until 6 years ago, didn't even have a place at the mosque, they were then and generally still are expected to stay home to pray.

Annie translating for us in front of the pulpit.

One of the arches.
The chandeliers and the rug are sourced from Turkey but the rest is all Jordanian.  They do some beautiful work.

Just like in a church, the holy book is available for services.
Would they be offended if I bought one of those stands
for a cookbook?

Still need Ian to translate this.

Arches and rugs over subfloor heating = toasty warm
even without shoes.
Can you imagine how warm with 2000+ bodies?

Smaller chandelier with incorporated speakers.

Above the doors, twice latticed windows to the women's section.

10:47a.m. on 12 January.  Your prayer times are....

A little perspective.

The "view" from one of the two ladies' wings.
They do have CCTV at least.
No boys allowed.
Only 250 women per wing.

A corner.
The exterior as we drove by.

Unlike a cathedral, a mosque is unadorned aside from the architecture.  Even that holds to a theme with simple arches and carvings.  Where a cathedral has niches with icons and paintings and statues, a mosque has simple niches with subtle lighting.  It is a beautiful space, open and bright.  Each aspect, like a cathedral, has meaning.  There are no altars or candles or incense. There aren't even seats, much less kneelers, as each person is expected to shed their shoes outside and bring their own small prayer rug in with them.

I'm so glad my word rang in my head as I debated getting out of bed at all on this chilly morning.  What a beautiful site.

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