Friday, March 15, 2013

Outside Amman

Fridays are our slow days.  Much of the city is quiet and closed at the very least until noon.  It's the day we head a few minutes out of town for horseback riding lessons for Rebecca and Jonathon.  

I really like that drive, especially after the rains.  The hills are green until sections are plowed.  The olive groves stand out, all nicely washed with their dark olive green leaves.  There aren't many trees in Amman, but right outside there are clumps of little woods, and to the north of Amman there is even Ajloun Forest.  Jordan does have trees but they are sporadic and the government tries hard to protect them.  The people are not so kind.  There are rashes of arson in the forests during the dry season.

There's quite a bit of dust in the air.

With the rains and the grass come the herds of goats and sheep, following the fodder.

But Friday is also the day that much of Amman heads out and picnics.  They picnic everywhere, along the sides of the highway, under the trees, even in tiny patches of dirt in the medians.  Honestly, it's a little bizarre. One of the lovely things about the stables is there's little directly around it.  Lots of open fields, olive groves, and rolling hills.

It's a perfect place for people to hang out.

They park along the road and set up among the trees.  Some picnic like "normal" people, a basket of food and a blanket to sit on and they are good to go.  Some sit right on the ploughed dirt which I try not to hold against them.

Under the olive trees.

Others go all out.  They bring bikes and toys for the kids.  Plastic tables and chairs.  A grill for roasting meat.

 On our way back to the city...

There are several spots with stands of trees.  They all lean a little (or a lot) thanks to the powerful winds that blow through, but there they are... trees!  Today we had a period of fierce winds and the sand/dust to go with them.  I left the car window cracked at the stables.  Yeah, bad idea.

People love to picnic among the trees.

I wish they were as keen to clean up their garbage, but that's a totally different topic.  It's also a lot to ask of people who feel no qualms about opening their car windows and tossing all their refuse right out for someone else to worry about.


We went to riding today.  I took some longer videos and accidentally deleted them so here you get about 10 seconds of the kids.  Ooooh fun. Next week I'll try to do better.  They are definitely improving.

Becca's horse wouldn't move no matter how hard she kicked.  Eventually she used a little whip to encourage him along (that sounds terrible, doesn't it? honestly, it doesn't even touch him) but I guess he didn't like that so much.

Well no, he didn't appreciate it.  While she was taking his gear off, he stepped on her foot.  We'll see how those toes look tomorrow.

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