This past weekend brought us on a modest exhibition to the dead sea. What with all the stinging, skin-burning salt, it didn't exactly make for a relaxing dip. But hey, it's pretty close to Jesus's old stomping grounds, so we can't complain too much.

israel or palestine? you decide.

look! we're waving at you! how is is possible???

the suckers who paid three dinar for mud.

the non-sucker who stole some guy's mud.


Crustily Yours...


get yo' hijaab on

Sometimes we and our friends get the urge, quite naturally, to, well, get our hijaab on. Cultural insensitivity aside, I think it's a barrel of monkeys for everybody involved.

Oh, and I'd like to take this opportunity to say I told you so to my father, who has been convinced from day one that if I just wore a hijaab, I'd fit in. Clearly not.

Insensitively Yours,


Happy Birfday!

Jessica and I had the pleasure of helping my host brother Waseem celebrate his 24th birthday (in style, of course.) It also happened to be, like, 5 other people's birthdays too. We prepared some traditional chocolate chip cookies, among many other sweets and sugary surprises.
The night mostly consisted of us dancing in the middle of about 30 of my family members, who were too shy to dance. Or maybe it was that they just enjoyed our "American" moves...
The festivities:

mummy and daddy all dressed up.


my loves- gena, lisa, and jess.

all the haloweats you could dream of.

the birthday boy!


A Royally Good Time.

Yesterday was a monumental day in my life.
I met His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan Bin Talal.
He is involved with the Regional Human Security Centre, where I am interning. Audrey (my co-intern) wrote a blog about the Prince a couple of weeks ago, and the Prince's Secretary found Audrey's blog and told him about it. After that, he told the Centre he wanted to meet this girl that writes blogs about him. After shaking hands, and introducing ourselves, we got to snap a couple pictures with him. And as it turns out, he has not only heard of Oregon, but has a Ducks t-shirt.

Audrey, Prince Hassan, me, and Gena.

P.S. To whoever is reading this blog for the Prince: If you get a chance, tell His Royal Highness it was a pleasure to meet him.

Missing you, Elizabeth


cups and kilos

If Thursday's the new Friday, then Saturday's the new Sunday, so today we're busy studying away at our favorite lesbian-owned cafe in Amman. And today, there's the added bonus of the lesbian owners (or so we're pretty sure) hanging around smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee outside. Moomkin we will ask them for help with our Arabic later.

cups and kilos
studious friends. hailing from portland, they're part of the mini-oregon we've created here.
surreptitious photo of the lesbian owners.

And just because we know you miss our dulcet tones...


Though we intended to travel to Syria for the Aid Al-Fitr holiday, certain car bombings got in the way of our plans. To say the least, we were a tad upset with the general martyr community, but we did manage to salvage the vacation anyway. How, you ask? Well, we decided to conduct a survey of every single Roman column in Jordan. Certainly more exciting than Damascus “all roads lead to Damascus,” Syria.

Jerash was the first exciting stop in our columnar tour. And believe you me, its columns do not fail to impress. Complete with a hippodrome, theatres, and jordanian bagpipers (playing scottish music, of course), what else could you ask for?

Next it was off to the black basalt columns of Umm Qais, but not, of course, without a bit of a run-around first. After happening upon a bus to the awful, awful city of Irbid, we intended to catch another bus to our hostel in Umm Qais. Instead, an opportunistic Jordanian man attempted to drive us to Ajlun. Perhaps Jordanian taxi drivers think that shouting a city's name about twenty times equates to a different city entirely, but I'm more inclined to think that this particular man was simply rather daft. Well, anyway, we did make it there eventually. So take a gander.

All that column viewing really whetted our appetite for—that's right—more columns. So we headed off to the secluded village of Pella. The rough guide to Jordan calls it “underwhelming for non-archaeologists,” but all the green grass, roaming sheep, and 15 JD bottles of wine really compensated for the pessimistic attitude of our guidebook.

After wandering around the countryside and downing personal bottles of Jordanian and South African wine, we sang through every musical and disney song we could remember. Probably all of the shepherds and their sheep in the entirety of Pella could hear our off-key harmonizations. To say the least, we slept peacefully and awoke to an olive farmer's breakfast at our hotel-owner's house. Then it was off to the hilly village of Ajlun, where we wandered around a presumedly old and important castle and fantasized about the villas and harems situated among its hills.

Overall, our trip to the North was an archaeologists dream, but as for the rest of us, we simply enjoyed all those ancient, columnar phalluses.


Have It Our Way?

It's not that we've been particularly homesick or pining away for the fast food capital of the world (that's right, we're talking about you, America). And it's not really as if we've had visions of burgers and fries floating around in our minds. It's simply that, as sometimes happens, we woke up one day and said to ourselves: “Today is a great day. Today is a day for Burger King.”

In America, this is a relatively simple process. Burger King is open nearly twenty-four hours a day and, should you find it closed, there is sure to be a worthwhile substitute within smelling distance. In Jordan, not so much. Don't get us wrong—super-sized burger establishments are readily available around most every corner, along with enough American chains to fulfill the most elaborate of your fast-food desires. But American or not, these establishments adhere to the strict rules of Ramadan. And for those lusting after a mid-day milkshake and fries, this poses somewhat of a problem.

Back when Ramadan was still in full force, we were posed with exactly such a problem. The saga goes something like this: After a long night turned slumber party, we awoke to the harsh realization that there wasn't a bite to eat in the apartment nor a single restaurant open. Quite naturally, our minds drifted to Burger King, which maybe—just maybe—would be able to answer our famished prayers. But a short walk down the highway found us standing dejectedly in front of our fast food Mecca. Though we could swear we smelled Burger King and saw a strange group of men with bags surely containing burgers, pressing our foreheads up against the clean glass and banging our fists on the doors produced little result. Burger King would not fire up the grease vats for us today.

Yes, yes, after such disappointments, we began to doubt the Burger King slogan entirely. Have it our way? Hardly. But we were determined nonetheless. On the following day, like true and proper Muslims, we drank some vodka (naturally), waited until nearly sunset, and paraded over to our local burger establishment. And lo and behold, we finally found what we had been searching for: a whopper and fries, Ramadan style. We waited, eagerly, for the setting of the sun and, finally hearing the signifying cry of “Allah is the Greatest,” we celebrated the end of the day's (non)fasting by tucking into our number one specials. And if Allah can provide over eight different types of frozen burgers AND soft serve, I think it's safe to say that he truly is the greatest.

greasy perfection.

sooo hungry.

allahu akbar.

N.B. Burger King may be the product of globalization, but it is highly favored by the locals. We enjoyed our whoppers in a packed restaurant of more than fifty muslim burger-lovers. You know what they say. When in Amman...


Southern Exposure: Petra

Petra. It's all a bit blase, don't you think?

siq. makes the city easy to defend. neat-o, huh?

the mildly famous treasury.

riding through the desert on a [donkey] with no name.

prime real estate.

sand bottle making.

expensive sand.

after hiking to the monastery. perhaps you can't tell, but we're standing terrifyingly close to the edge here. and about to fall right into israel.

disorienting view. these mountains allow for very little depth perception.

this looks pretty much like the treasury, but much harder to get to.