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Homesick? Not Exactly…

When you decide to live overseas for a long period of time it is amazing the things you realize you miss from home the most. Now besides my family and friends there is one significant ‘item’, I suppose you could call it, that I truly wish I could see every day.

So, what is it? It’s simply grass!

See..I LOVE Grass!

Now I know this probably sounds pretty ridiculous but it’s true, I miss those bright green blades of awesomeness tickling between my toes and even the smell of freshly mowed green fields is haunting my daydreams. So if any of you have read any of my previous posts you would know (or if not I’m going to tell you anyway) that I’ve been traveling around Amman, Jordan. So grass isn’t as common as let’s say New Jersey (where I’m originally from) so there stands my dilemma of missing grass. But lucky for me, there was no need to hop on a plane back to Jersey to get my share of green wonder. Nope, just a bus ride away, to Wadi Al Rayan, waited a gorgeous nature reserve filled with rolling hills, towering trees, lovely flowers and plenty of luscious grass filling the trails.

The gorgeous view from the hiking trail.

And The Adventure Begins…

My day started off at 8am where a couple friends and I waited to board the bus to Wadi Al Rayan, and while we didn’t exactly leave on time (which I’m finding quite normal when traveling with Jordanians) sure enough we were on our way to this gorgeous nature reserve. Less than two hours and we were all able to see from a distance the green mountain tops and lush grass trails I would never had imagined would be in such a dry country such as Jordan.

As we’re all admiring the mountain views from the bus window, the excitement caught on for me that it would be just moments away we would be traveling down the hiking trails, and be right within the greener side of Jordan I had yet to experience. So finally came the time and one by one until about all 80 of us were grouped together (I forgot to mention this was a HUGE group) we took off and began discovering all the beauty Jordan had to offer.

On our way back to the buses.

Forty five minutes into the walk and it was lunch time! However, as I mentioned before I was traveling with about 80 others, just about all of which were Jordanian, and lunch turned into a singing fest and story time. Some even brought their Hookahs (I’m still trying to figure out how they were able to carry them as they were hiking, but I suppose that’s just another addition to my American to Arabian culture confusion).  Lunch wasn’t exactly as I had expected, but all in all a great experience and I was able to admire the greenery a little longer, so a win-win for me.

The walk back turned into experiencing some of the most amazing scenery I had ever seen, and I even caught a glimpse of a pretty intense cave. I must say my trip to Wadi Al Rayan is by far one of the best trips I’ve been on since coming here, while it was simple to say the least, this was a major eye-opener that Jordan is not just your everyday desert country and has so much more to offer.

The big group of people I traveled with!

I’ve also recently joined the IWAA, International Women’s Association of Amman, where I have been introduced to plenty of other ‘green’ trips that I can’t wait to tag along to. So I can assure you this will not be the last post about the beautiful green grass that can be found in Jordan. Because like I said earlier, I miss me some grass!

Have any of you ever miss something kind of random from back home while you were traveling?

Disney, oh how I love you. From a fascinated child replaying Cinderella and daydreaming of meeting my own Prince Charming to a young adult captivated by the magic and majestic greatness of the Disney theme parks. All in all Disney is my secret obsession (I even have a tiara tattooed to the back of my neck mostly because of my obsession with the Disney Princesses.) and my goal is to travel to each and every location of Disney’s theme parks.  Altogether there are 5 Disney resorts around the globe (and one more coming soon!) as of now I have been to the 2 in the US. There is:

  • Disneyland Resort California, USA; Glide through the skies of the Golden State while on Soarin’ Over California or if you’re more into the horrifying Hollywood scene be prepared for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s California Adventure Park. Continue throughout the resort to Disneyland Park and you will find a little bit for everyone; a mysterious Indiana Jones Adventure, an exploring out-of-this-world adventure at Space Mountain and/or some flight lessons with America’s beloved elephant on Dumbo the Flying Elephant.
  • Walt Disney World Resort– Florida, USA; Travel through and experience 11 different cultural nations within Epcot, race down one of the tallest and fastest waterslides in the World at Disney’s Blizzard Beach, be captivated by the wide range of extraordinary animals and safari attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, get a glimpse of behind-the-scene action of Hollywood at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and fall in love with all your favorite characters where fairytales do exist at Disney’s  Magic Kingdom Park.
  •  Disneyland Resort Paris Paris, France; Say Bonjour to all the wonder and excitement within Europe’s only Disney location. We all know It’s a Small World but on this cheerful musical tour in Fantasyland you’ll be singing and dancing along to the multinational dolls around the park, travel through space a second time on Space Mountain: Mission 2, prepare yourself for the wildest train ride on Big Thunder Mountain and ‘Ahoy Mateys!’ live out that childhood fantasy of becoming a pirate on the Pirates of the Caribbean thrill ride.
  • Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Hong Kong, China; Be a part of Andy’s toy box with Woody and Buzz in Toy Story land where you feel like the size of a toy yourself, discover the futuristic realm of out-of-this-world rollercoasters and alien friends strolling through  Tomorrowland, create your own jungle adventure in Adventureland like Tarzan and attend a magical Broadway-like performance based on “The Lion King”, visit all your favorite Disney Princesses within their castles in Fantasyland and wrap up your visit with a stroll down Main Street, U.S.A. and experience one of their exciting parades.
  • Tokyo Disney Resort– Tokyo, Japan; This is the newest Disney location and has made quite an impression already. Altogether there are seven theme parks within this Disney resort including Critter Country where you can experience the thrills of Splash Mountain, Westernland that hosts the old western feel as well as the majestic Mark Twain Riverboat,  Adventureland lets you show off your daring personality in the Jungle Cruise, meet all your favorite Disney characters and visit the magic of all that makes Disney what it is in Fantasyland, get a little crazy with Chip and Dale or be Minnie’s guest at her quaint cottage in Toontown, fast forward into a land of space adventure and aliens in Tomorrowland and get a little taste of history from around the world in World Bazaar where you can browse through the Disney Gallery or take a tour by the Omnibus.

Coming soon:  Shanghai Disney Resort!

Now perhaps visiting every Disney location isn’t on everyone’s bucket list of things to do but come on, this is the Happiest Place on Earth and it’s now available 5 different places around the globe, how cool is that?! It’s time to cater to that inner child of yours and let loose with all the excitement and magic that Disney offers to all their guests. Whoever has been to at least one of their grand resorts knows what I’m talking about, admit it you’d go again right?!

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Well in this case… “When in Jordan, play as the Romans play.”  Downhill from the towering Citadel is Downtown Amman’s Roman Theatre, still very much in tact since it was first built during the reign of Antonius Pius (138-161 CE). Personally I am not too much of a history buff and to be honest had no idea a theatre with the capacity of 6,000 people even existed within this extremely dense city of Amman. It was not until I started a search of all the ‘cool and interesting places to see in Amman, Jordan’ (yes, that is what I actually typed in the search engine) that I came across the must-see tourist attractions of this lovely city. Upon stumbling across this information I became so determined to pack up my camera and sight-see through history that I was living just 15 minutes away from. However, this is what really happened…

Hot, sunny and plain out exhausting could easily describe the ’15 minute’ drive (apparently 15 minutes away means an hour sitting in polluted traffic) to Downtown Amman. Today, of course, our car’s AC decided it was going to take a break and have the stale air coming from the windows do its job. So let’s just say the car ride to Amman’s Roman Theatre was not at all pleasant and it is safe to say probably ruined my appreciation for history until the weather cools off a bit.

Alright, so my state of mind was pretty clouded at the time due to the month of August’s hot intense weather climate. Looking back now and browsing through my pictures I’ve come to realize how beautiful and extraordinary the Romans’ creation really is. Downtown Amman is altogether the daily hustle and bustle  that anyone would see if they visited a city that was full of this many people. But as soon as you trek your way past the King Hussein mosque (after admiring its beauty and capturing a few pictures) and continue to push your way through the crowds of smoke and Arabian men attempting to lure you into their shop you will find a piece of history standing right before your eyes.

When it comes to admission expenses I was only required to pay 1 JD (a little less than $2) which will probably be the most affordable price you will pay throughout your entire trip in this city (even less than the taxi fare). Included in the price is admission to two miniature museums which are quite interesting if you like to browse through ancient artifacts and see back in the day wardrobe selections. More than likely there will be beggars aka ‘tourist guides’ that will offer their hosting skills but this really isn’t necessary and although they advertise a variety of different languages they ‘speak’ it is safe to say 99% of the time they only know how to say Hello and Money in that language . Guests in the theatre are allowed to walk around as they please and if you want to hike your way up to the towering top you’re more than welcomed. However, I cannot stress the importance of holding on to the nearest railing or step that’s closest to you since most of the steps are not exactly the modern definition of leveled.

For all you history buffs out there Amman’s Roman Theatre is a must-see. It is not very often history just presents itself to you in tact and just lightly touched by Mother Nature. Although August’s scorching sun may not have allowed me to be as enthused at the time, this definitely qualified as a ‘cool and interesting place in Amman’ that I had searched for to begin with. Perhaps this Spring I will venture to explore the various historical sites also found in Downtown. Has any of your travels not been what you’d imagine they would be?