Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ajloun: My Jordanian Weekend

Mansaf after we had destroyed it.
My roommate made friends with a man named Mohanad at the University of Jordan.  Mohanad lives in Ajloun which is about an hour northwest of Amman.  Mohanad took us out to his families house to experience Mansaf, the national dish of Jordan.  Many times after I tell people here that I have eaten Mansaf they tell me that I am now a real Jordanian. 
Sunset over a Mosque in Ajloun
So we make it out to Ajloun by bus, we get to Mohanad's house and the adventure begins.  They lay down a sheet of plastic on the floor then bring out the Mansaf which is just a huge plater of rice with a whole chicken sitting on top of it.  We sit down cross-legged on the floor next to the Mansaf and then dig in with our hands.  The rice was so hot I could barely pick it up, but that didn't stop me from eating my own weight in Mansaf.  It's really good. 
View of Ajloun from the Castle
After the Mansaf we hit the town with Mohanad and his friends, Ajloun is in the hills and there is an old crusader castle on the highest one.  Our friends talked us in for free and Arab hospitality would let us left without then buying us each a few postcards.  People in Ajloun are not as use to foreigners as the people in Amman so we were quit the site walking about the streets at night, we drew a lot of attention.
The Castle
We had planned on returning to Amman that night but didn't realize that the buses stop running at a certain time, so we ended up staying the night with Mohanad and his family.  It was a night of little sleep, lots of food and Arabic dancing. The best treat of the night by far was the warm goats milk with added sugar. It was amazing.
Our beds for the night
I also had my first experience with a squat toilet , the added plus it was in the middle of the night. When I went to bed I could feel that I had to use the bathroom but I was really hoping I could just wait until we got back to Amman the next morning.  No such luck, at 2 a.m. I didn't have an option, I was going to have to use the squatter.  I could not find out how to turn the light on in the bathroom so I had to use the flashlight on my cell phone, there was a hole in the wall of the bathroom that went outside and I had no idea how to use this type of toilet, all while trying to not make too much noise because I didn't want to wake up Mohanad's family sleeping in the next room. 

This was a very enjoyable weekend and I felt like I really got to have an authentic Jordanian experience.

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