Final Day in Amman - Happy Jordanian Independence Day!

Our 3 groups, with their 3 professors, "reverted to type" on our final day in Jordan:
  • Rob took our 6 photo students to the town of Salt for a photo shoot.
  • Carlene was with our 13 journalism students wrapping up, as best they could, the Jordan stories.
  • I was with our 13 Arabic students, plus Raed plus Rima (Arabic instructor), and Geoff Edgers of the Boston Globe, and we headed downtown Amman to al-Quds restaurant and sweets shop.
al-Quds specializes in Kunafeh (knafeh), that delicious cracked wheat, cheese, and syrupy dessert that is typically Jordanian (though originally Palestinian). We had a grand tour by the owner of al-Quds, who was born in Hebron and moved to Jordan in the 1950s, and later set up his various restaurants. We learned how to make Kunafeh from the start, from the very first ingredients (flour and water), to how they are heated, how the cheese is prepared and spread, how the whole thing is then flipped upside down, how it is 'fired' (not baked, and not quite grilled, but some combination of the two), and how it is then doused with the sugary syrup. And of course, how it tastes - we were all treated to the end-product, a piping hot delectable sensation!

From here, we went to the downtown cultural center, but found that the Independence Day festivities didn't begin until 5 pm, with a visit by the King. So, we went to our early lunch (same wonderful restaurant we ate at on our first night in Jordan); Dr. Raed treated us all (shukran jazilan ya Duktoor!). We played 2 rounds of "Uno" card game - but in Arabic (this day was the final day of Arabic class, so it was our day to reinforce colors and numbers, and other attributes of "Uno" translated into Arabic).

After lunch, we left the students to explore downtown on their own, one last day.

We're meeting at SIT offices at 7:30 am Thursday, to then head to the airport early enough for our 11:20 am flight to Istanbul (Royal Jordanian flight). We're scheduled to arrive in Istanbul 1:40 pm, and then it's transition time, big-time! Another amazing city to explore, another hotel (no homestays), another set of lectures, site visits, tours of the city, "dialogues" ... The students seem very excited for this next part, though all those I've spoken with are not happy to leave Amman or Jordan. But, as long as they're not happy to leave, my hope is that they'll be planning to return whenever possible.

I'll blog from Istanbul, insha'allah, Thursday night.


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