The Circle’s the Thing

Jerash, Umm Qais and Irbid, Jordan

Today was our group excursion to the ruins at Jerash and Umm Qais. Not much has changed about Jerash since I left, though there are new police guard towers all around the archaeological park, and a lot more Tourist Police than I’ve ever seen before.

But are traffic patterns in Irbid ever changing! The north end of the Amman Bus Station where the “service taxis” to the University waited has been razed to make room for a traffic circle, and they’re putting in more traffic circles at all the major intersections along that road down to Yarmouk University. The university itself has a new auto bridge onto campus from the south end, though it escapes me why such a thing is necessary.

Then, on the road out to Harima, there are several new traffic circles, and a bright, baby blue footbridge over the main road in the middle of Bait Ras, and a couple more new traffic circles on the road West of Harima towards Umm Qais.

I wish we’d had more time in Umm Qais. It would have been nice to wander around a little and enjoy the breeze, or at least sit in the restaurant for a bit and have a cold drink. It was unbearably hot today, even for Jordan, it seemed, and Umm Qais is just over the Yarmouk River valley, too, so it was pretty humid (for Jordan, anyway!).

We came back home along University Street in Irbid, and that, at least, is pretty much the same, with the addition of a Burger King and Popeyes south of the Pizza Hut. Speed2 Internet Cafe is still there, where we whiled away many an hour, and lots of little restaurants that brought back fond memories of our Peace Corps days.

At times, I have to say, it’s pretty weird to be back here, and pretty surreal. It feels simultaneously like I’m in Jordan, and like I’m seeing Jordan from this little tourist bubble that I never wore before….

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