After a very long 16 hours worth of traveling, I'm happy to say that I've made it safe and sound here in Amman. Although I got zero hours of sleep, it was a decently smooth trip.
I arrived in Paris around 8 am their time, 2 am US time - although early, it was great timing because we flew right over the city, so I got a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower and what not. However, when I got off the plane I got a bit turned around and wound up lost in the airport for a solid 30 - typical American tourist in France. But I finally made my way to my gate where I enjoyed a lovely rasberry filled croissant and the best cappaccino I've ever had. Gotta hand it to the French....they sure have some good food!
The flight from Paris to Amman was shorter but somehow seemed longer. I was too excited and hopped up on caffeine to sleep but so exhausted at the same time. I sat next to a nice Jordanian man who gave me all sorts of good tips of places to go and things to eat though, so that was a plus.
But finally, 4 hours later, we landed in Amman! It was about 8 pm their time (1 pm US time) and already dark so it was hard to see much from the sky. I was a bit worried about the airport situation and terrified that my bags wouldn't be there but luckily I had no problems. I exchanged my US money for Jordanian Dinars, bought a visa, gathered my 100+ lbs of luggage, & finally found my group. Lucky for me some of the program coordinators came to meet us at the airport so I didn't have to mess with catching a cab and what not.
I met some other students and we got onto a bus which took us to the hotel I am staying in until Thursday when I will then move in with my host family. I was too tired to do much, so I hit the hay and called it a night.
Today - my first real day in Amman - was like a dream. I woke up this morning to the call to prayer, which is blasted over speakers 5 times a day from these giant tall tower things. Although 5 am was a little early to be woken up, I can't describe how beautiful it was to hear.
We then spent the day exploring the city while getting to know the other students. In short: Amman is absolutely beautiful. The buildings are all nestled on hills, so you can see the city at almost all angles. We walked around downtown all afternoon on the city's main street Rainbow Road - an insanely busy street filled with little shops, restaurants, and cafes - while playing Frogger through the streets with all the insane cab drivers.
We saw some amazing views of the city and had shwarama for lunch which is a standard Jordanian dish - a pita wrap filled with meats, veggies, potatoes, & some sort of sauce - it. was. delicious. Served up with some fries and a coke! Yum.
At the end of the tour we stumbled upon an ancient Roman ampitheatre so we stopped and checked it out. It was built on a hill so it was extremely steep. Nonetheless, we made it to the top and managed to snap some more good pictures.
We had a great dinner tonight too downtown, but I think I've blabbed on enough for this post and I'm exhausted. Some pictures from the day are below! Tomorrow we'll do some more school related things and hopefully do some more exploring.
I'm hoping to master the whole cab thing this week. In'sha'allah! (God willing)
One of the towers that projects the call to prayer
They were adament about taking a picture with me...I blame the blonde hair.
Roman ampitheatre - very steep
I love the views