Matt Eaton, a student from Northeastern University, participated in the second session of Amman, Jordan’s summer 2011 Intensive Arabic program. In his post, he discusses his observations about Ramadan, and recounts one of his more recent adventures to Wadi Hasa. Originally posted by Matt on August 9, 2011.
Last week in Jordan, and I have to make the most of every minute. As Ramadan is in full swing, I learn a little more about the culture every day. For instance, Corey and me tried to go to Mecca Mall on Friday at like 12:30PM, thinking that of course it would be open, it’s the middle of the day! But lo and behold, the mall doesn’t open until 2 PM on Friday’s during Ramadan! So, we ended up waiting for an hour and half for the shops to open, and then went souvenir shopping.
It’s interesting to see how Ramadan affects the culture and society. One time I had a cab driver, and asked if he was fasting, he said yes, no surprise there, and thus the subject of religion was brought up, and I found out he was a Christian. That really surprised me, why was a Christian fasting during Ramadan? He proceeded to tell me that not only Muslims fast for God. He even told me that Muslims put up trees and decorations during Christmas and Easter. I was really surprised by this, but I had the most respect for the people here, and think about how in America, there a people that get so upset when you say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, where here in Jordan Christians say Ramadan Kareem and Muslims say Merry Christmas without getting their panties tied up in a bunch.
Saturday I had the pleasure of going on a Hike to Wadi Hasa. It is a Canyon 2 hours south of Amman with a river running through it. The wadi is full of natural water slides, waterfalls, and ponds that our hike took us through, jumping off twenty foot tall rocks into the river, and just swimming through the canyon. The hike lasted all day, and I saw so much of Jordan that I didn’t know existed. Who thinks of river canyons and natural water slides when they think of Jordan? I certainly don’t. But it was awesome to see all the plant life there, and even saw some crabs! The only thing was that there was a crazy amount of flies and yellow-butt hornets. About a quarter of the way through, I basically destroyed one of my sandals, thus Rami, the tour guide, tied a strap around my foot to keep the sandal on my feet! Thus I hiked the canyon using a broken sandal for 3 quarters of the way! Needless to say I throw those sandals out. They were old anyways… about 5 or 6 years haha. But nevertheless, the trip was awesome! And once again we had a Bus Party on the Way back home.
Only a couple more days left. I will update one more time at the end to reflect on my whole experience! Ma’ Salama!