Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's almost عيد

Friday is the holy day here, which means the day off of school, and a welcome break from the noisy trucks that patrol the neighborhood: the Junk truck, who's shouts into the megaphone letting people know he will pick up their junk (although it sounds like he's ranting about government conspiracies); and the gas truck, which advertises tanks of gas with a 4 note tune, like an ice cream truck, only it sounds more like something from a Final Fantasy game.

Without real weekends, I don't have much of a chance to travel, but Jordan is small enough that I can get to most places in the country in a few hours, and cheaply. Last friday I went with a Japanese woman in my class, her husband, and some Japanese kids my age, to Petra, the 2000 year old city in the desert best known for it's appearance in Indiana Jones. The place was enormous, with countless caves and carved out rooms and decorations and facades. The Treasury, below, is the first part of the city, which you approach through a mile long canyon.

The end of Ramadan is finally here, and it means our one and only break from school. I'm taking full advantage, and going to Syria and Lebanon for the week. Due to the fact that Syria is in the AXIS OF EVIL, I will apparently have some difficulties getting across the border, and will have to wait several hours, or all day, to get a visa, while the australians and british that I'm traveling with can sail through. At least I'll be with some other Americans, and I haven't been to Israel yet – if there is any indication in my passport that I've spent time in “occupied Palestine,” there's no way I'm getting in.

After I get back I'll start working at the UNHCR, where I got a job doing refugee status determinations for, apparently, everybody but Iraqis. It should be interesting, and after the backlog in this department goes away (which is only 30 at this point) I'll be able to find other projects to work on.

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