Fatuma Atik, a student in Applied Linguistics and Arabic at Georgia State University, participated in session 1 of the AMIDEAST Intensive Arabic program in Amman, Jordan this summer. Below, enjoy her pictures of her favorites places in the Hashemite Kingdom.
Wadi Rum was one of the prettiest places we visited during our stay in Jordan. It is located sixty kilometers north of Aqaba and took us almost three hours to reach. Once we had arrived, our guides broke us up into small groups. Each group got on the back of a small pickup truck. The day was blazing hot, but once the trucks started to move, it was better; and we felt the wind run through our hair.
It was quite an adventure riding through the desert. We would stop every ten minutes or so to explore the rock formations and take pictures. My favorite part was walking in the sand. It was rich and dark, and the color was amazing. We even witnessed the location where Lawrence of Arabia was shot. It was magnificent. We had the opportunity to ride camels, and my time on this noble animal made up one of my favorite experiences in Wadi Rum. Another favorite moment was while we waited patiently for the sunset, sitting down together on huge elevated rocks, relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery. It was serene and peaceful and brought me a sense of peace that I will never forget. Nothing else around me mattered, as I was mesmerized by my surroundings. Once the sun started to descend, we sat there and reflected on everything we had done that day. We watched the rich colors of the sunset, the mixture and blending of the orange, red, and yellow hues. Everyone found his or her cameras, trying to save this part of our journey.
I remember arriving in Petra around 11 A.M., tired but ready for adventure. While we were waiting for our entrance tickets, I saw many posters of Indiana Jones all over the concession stands and little shops. This place became very popular after the Indiana Jones movies were shown in the theaters, because one of the movies was filmed in Petra. When we were given our tickets, we started our tour by walking through the Siq, which was the trail we had to follow to reach Petra’s sites. While walking, we passed numerous horses, donkeys, and even camels. There were young children walking around selling postcards and jewelry. When we reached the end of the trail, we saw the treasury building peeking between two gigantic brown rocks. I was captivated and started snapping pictures non-stop. Petra’s mostly known attractions are the Treasury and the Monastery. I couldn’t believe that I was standing in front of a site recently named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. We couldn’t go inside and were left to imagine how beautiful it must be.
The group also visited the amphitheater and the temple. The tour guide told us about the sacrilegious site and how it would take at least a good hour or two of stair climbing in order to see this site and many students had a chance to explore the area.
Long before my trip to Amman, I started preparing myself for the Dead Sea. I had read so many interesting facts about it that I had difficulty waiting for the trip there. When I finally arrived, I was ready to jump into the Sea and float. However, before we could reach the Dead Sea, we had to walk through the resort. It was so beautiful that I couldn’t believe I was surrounded by such luxury. I saw many people from all over the world at the resort. Some were locals and the rest were tourists who come to visit this famous salty sea.
After lunch, I ran to the locker rooms and put on suitable clothes for swimming. The day before our trip to the Dead Sea, our advisor told us not to shave or get any cuts on our bodies, because it would burn once we got into the water. She was right! I had a small cut behind my ankle. I put two band-aids on it hoping to keep it from stinging as much. As soon as I stepped into the water, I felt the pain and was ready to cry; but I wasn’t going to give up that easily. I came to the Dead Sea to float, and that was what I planned to do. I sat down, and magically my body rose up. I was floating. I was ecstatic! Everything they said about the Dead Sea was true. The Sea is enriched with so many minerals that it actually healed my cut. I was amazed, and I can’t wait to return and visit the Dead Sea in the future.