8:20 am, Sunday morning.
Today is a regular day in the Muslim country of Jordan. Life is back to normal after the Friday/Saturday weekend. School is in session and awoke me with the morning ritual of loudspeakers blaring the Jordanian national anthem across the neighborhood:
Long live the king!
Long live the king!
His position sublime,
His banners waving in glory supreme.
We achieved our goal on the day you revived for us.
A revolution gives us our motivation!
Flying over the shoulders of the highest comets.
O, king of Arabs,
From the best prophet, you have the honor of dynasty
Talked about in the depths of books!
Then a man, a child, and a woman give orations or maybe simply announcements of the day’s activities. I confess to my disadvantage of not knowing Arabic. We must take the time to learn a few words.
Today’s blog will be different from the subject matter I have stuck to in the last three years.
My purpose in starting this website was to acquaint anyone who is interested in moving here with everything I could learn about this country: the government, climate, history, geography, tourist attractions, food, culture, social customs. You get the idea. Before we moved here, I researched all my information. Now that we live in Aqaba, I write many articles based on my experience, plus research.
The plan for this week’s blog was to have been part one of information on Jordan’s most popular tourist spot—Petra. While we have not yet visited this well-known Nabatean stronghold, we did go to Little Petra, a smaller version a ten-minute drive farther north of its big brother/sister. The crowds do not usually wind up in that place, and we had it all to ourselves, plus two friends, and another couple. Way better than the massive crowds and hassling vendors of the original, Little Petra boasts the same high gorges and carved facades. And it’s free!
However, to do the subject justice, I needed many hours for research, and I didn’t have them this week.
We are heading into winter, our gardening season. Actually, winter is not a good term for this time of year. I say Aqaba has two seasons—Heaven and Hell. We have just escaped Hell, the abominably hot part of the year in which no rain falls and the temps can soar into the 115° - 118°F (45° – 48°C) range for days on end. When we walk out our front door, a furnace blast hits us in the face.
We live in one air-conditioned room of the apartment for six months. To run A/C in the whole place, as we did in our central-heat-and-air American home, would cost a literal fortune. When we moved into our apartment in mid-July 2021, we were unaware of the cost of electricity needed to keep the whole place comfortable. Our first month’s bill was the shocking equivalent of $511.84!
We dialed it down. This year’s highest bill for July was $258.03. We were never comfortable, but we lived through it.
November marks the beginning of Heaven—low- to mid-80s in the day and low 70s at night. Two weeks ago, I turned off the air conditioner in my bedroom, and two nights ago, it was cool enough to leave the fan unused and raise the window. From now until sometime in April, we will live in Paradise. (Or as they say here, “Baradise.” There is no “p” sound in Arabic.)
During the Heaven season, we spend much time in our gardens and in traveling. In the last two weeks, I have planted five vegetable gardens, in addition to sprucing up and adding to our three flower gardens. That has taken much of my time—time I normally would spend in research. Hence, the reason my blog on Petra is not ready today. My husband Al waters every day or every other day, depending on the need. I tend to weeding and other necessities.
Here is a photo of fertilizer we bought. Never could understand why it was called Plastoff. One day, Al remembered the p/b pronunciation problem when he noticed the rocket motif. It should be "Blast-off."
Add the gardening duties to planned trips to archeological and tourist sites in the next few months, and you'll understand why I need to scale back on writing.
Normally, I post a blog every Sunday and a newsletter about our everyday lives on Wednesday. However, I’m going to have to pull back. For the foreseeable future, I will blog every two weeks and send a newsletter once a month. I am desperately trying to write a book, and it takes too much of my life to crank out the other pieces.
So this is November’s first blog, and my newsletter will post on the last Wednesday, November 30.
If you want to be notified of these posts, click on “Subscriptions and Donations” at the top of the homepage. For those on our Flight Team (paid subscriptions), we will post a video later today from our recent trip to Nawatef Camp last month.