Harp and Story

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Shirley and Friend at Waterfall in the
City Square of Aqaba, Jordan
October 14, 2009
We are in Jordan now visiting friends. We have been taking the past few days getting oriented and seeing where things are. Aqaba sits on the northern tip of the Red Sea and we went down to the beach where you could look at 4 countries. Jordan, Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia. We drove down to the border with Saudi Arabia which is only about 10 miles from town and observed much new development and resorts being built. We were told it was mostly Saudi money that was behind the development and mostly Saudi families that would be buying the condos for a vacation destination.
Red Sea Beach –Israel in Background
There are many Egyptians that form up the working class here; much like the Thai people in Israel and the Mexicans in the US. Some Philippine nationals come here as well, more in the domestic trades. We also noted there is a strong Chinese representation here, especially in the new shopping malls that are being built here. As we walked into the shopping mall, there were stacks of goods recently unloaded from a truck that all had “Made in China” stamped on them. As we walked through the mall stores, we saw the same lable on most of the goods offered in the stores. The shop keepers were also Chinese in many cases, so it is evident thatChina has come into full swing here as in the US and around the globe. Another surprise was seeing a huge Safeway grocery store in the middle of town, can we use our “club card” here too? Wow! The farther away you go, the closer you get.
Safeway Store in Aqaba
It is observed that the rampant merchandising that is one of the characteristics of end-time empires is just as prevalent here as in those places that people are supposedly leaving for those very same reasons. The accuser of the brethern is not particular to geographic location, as long as he can ensnare you with stuff and financials and anything else that can take your mind off the One we say we serve. It is just as easy to slip into a day to day routine here as anywhere else and forget why you came in the first place. (We’re not saying this of anyone specifically, it is just a tendency that must be gaurded against by all of us no matter where we are.) The geography is not what makes one safe. It is the dwelling in the presence–the relationship, that offers the place where it will not come nigh us–and that relationship can take place anywhere on the face of the earth.
It is amazing to be close to places that are mentioned in The Book. The Red Sea, Edom, Mt. Sier, Moab, Mt. Hor, Bosra just to name a few. There is much history here, and the promises to Abraham include this very soil. If you want to see what it looks like around here, get out a copy of “Lawrence of Arabia”. It was filmed here and down the road at Wadi Rum. People here are quite proud of the fact that the movie was made here. Even though there are many historical inaccuracies in the movie, it still gives you an idea of the land and its people.
It is interesting to visit the produce markets and see the productivity of this land. The farmers here work diligently and produce a wide variety of foods that please the pallet. We really enjoy the Mediteranean style of eating, and the spices available here on practically every street corner are a wonder to behold. Just walking past a spice stand is a sensory treat! The colors and smells and sounds and feel of the place are so rich and exotic.
One of the Many Mosques in Aqaba
Another treat is the people who live here. Almost every child on the street wants to practice their English on you. They at least say,”Hello, how are you?” ;and they say it multiple times until they are satisfied that they have really gotten your attention. There is quite a mix of beliefs here. We have met many Orthodox Greek worshipers here. Obviously the majority is Muslim, with many calls to prayer from various minarettes throughout the city. There is an array from nominal through orthodox with varying styles of dress and performance. Men wear traditional Bedouin garb and Italian styled business suits. It is an eclectic collection that constantly varies and surprises. Many beautiful eyes are revealed behind full veils and I found out they can even swim in the Red Sea with their full covering. Even this late in October, it touches 100 f and a swim in the sea can cool anyone off.
Everyone Enjoys the Red Sea –Cool!
We will close this posting for now. Most assuredly, there will be more to come from this fascinating area. Until the next posting, as they say here–Salama.

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