We woke up on the Dead Sea and drove to the ancient Roman city of Jerash. Jerash had not originally, been on our itinerary, but we decided to sacrifice time in Amman to see it. I am very glad we did.
I really enjoyed the guide we hired from the site office. He had been leading tours in Jerash since the 70s. He was old and nimble, he almost floated through the ruins. He carried a stick to point at things and there was soothing percussive nature to the way it tapped the cobblestone as he moved. He was a delight.
The ruins of Jerash are the best-preserved Roman ruins outside of Italy. The forum and theater are incredibly impressive. The acoustics of the theater are fantastic. You can be speaking outside the center of the theater, step into the center, and instantly hear your voice fill the space. It’s wildly impressive. The forum and the cardo are lined with columns which give the entire site an impressive and imperial look. The structures of Baalbeck are more grandiose, but as a whole site, Jerash is phenomenal.
Photo Credits: Samer Badr, Spencer Mcgee, Josh Ferris
We were famished and did not think an hour drive back to Amman was a great idea while we were hungry and tired. We walked across the street and found an air-conditioned fast food joint called Cheesy Grill. It was comically bad. The first sandwich we ordered was unavailable, so they made these chicken, American cheese, sweet mayo monstrosities. Megan’s verbal review was “this is disgusting.” We named these sandwiches cheesy blasters after the 30 Rock joke, filled up on fries, some Syrian sweets from the neighboring shop and got back to the car.
Our Airbnb was on Khirfan Street and was very nice. It was right in the center of a pretty hip neighborhood. After we settled and showered, we treated ourselves to a drink at Books at Cafe. This bar/cafe is the first overtly queer-friendly place I saw in Jordan. It was nice to walk into a place with “Equality Matters” slogans littered about. We shared a Jordanian Rose wine, that would have been better if it had been served chilled.
We ended the night with a traditional Jordanian meal at Sufra. The quality of food on this day of the trip really ran the gamut. This food was delicious. We sat in an outdoor courtyard in the back of an old house. There was a fountain at the center and it was lined with lots of plants. It was a fantastic scene. I do not remember everything that we ordered, but Hayan and Samer figured it out for us. This was the first time we had the famous Jordanian meal of mansaf. Mansaf is meat, rice, and yogurt sauce. It’s not bad, but nothing I’d seek out in the future.
At the end of the meal, our group split up. We said good-bye to Megan and Hayan, and we went back to go to bed. I fell asleep instantly, but Holly F., Samer, and Spencer enjoyed the balcony overlooking Amman.