As the year wraps up we’re all trying to figure out the last few things we want to do together while we’re all still here. So while a bunch of people went to Damascus or Jerusalem, Katie and I decided to just enjoy Jordan. On Friday we went downtown again to the so-called “Market of the Thieves,” where you can buy basically anything you would ever want. The vendors are unlicensed and lined up on the edges of the sidewalks, selling remote controls, old coins, money from Iraq featuring Saddam Hussein’s picture, clothes, jewelry, and electronics. Someone started shouting “Municipality!” and people started wrapping up their goods in big blankets and running away, since they’re not licensed to sell there. Downtown there are a lot of Iraqi refugees trying to make a living by selling odds and ends.
Saturday some friends and I went on a trip to Wadi Mujib. Essentially, it’s like Petra with water. The wadi is a long valley with a river running through it. In some parts you could just walk around, other parts you had to wade, and a few parts it was so deep you could just swim through. The water was so clear and warm and refreshing. There were three or four really difficult parts where, using ropes, you had to climb up some small waterfalls. I’ve never done anything really physically challenging, so I didn’t think I would be able to do it, but somehow I did! Of course now my arms and legs are totally sore. At the end of the walk there was a beautiful huge waterfall. After standing under that for awhile we turned back and went home. Sorry there are no pictures, but there’s no way I could take my camera out there. One of the guys brought his and managed to keep it safe, so maybe I’ll get some soon.
Also, this week I made a pretty big decision: I’ve decided to stay in Jordan for the summer, instead of going to Lebanon to work for the Daily Star. There are a lot of reasons for my choice, but essentially it just started to make less and less sense to go to Beirut. I wasn’t being paid, whereas Jo Magazine is paying me to stay on here; I can finish my research on Iraqi refugees, which I’m doing for my senior essay and which is going well so far, but could really use some more nuance; I already know the city and how to get around; I have people here that I could live with who aren’t complete strangers. Jordan is a much more practical choice for me, where I will be fully funded by my job and university grants, giving me the chance to fly to Dubai on the weekend, take a train to Istanbul, pay for my trip to Greece, visit Cairo, and maybe meet up with friends and family in Morocco. As much as I hate to admit it, money is important…and why start struggling earlier than you have to?