So I know I normally do book reviews on this page, but I have decided to use it as my travel blog from my trip to Jordan as well. For those of you that do not know I am a city in southern Jordan called Aqaba. I am staying at a lovely hostel called Darna Village, which is directly across the road from the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea. I am with a group of students and staff from across the country on a dig called the Ayn Gharandal Archaeological Project or AGAP. We are excavating a Roman military fort that dates roughly around the turn of the 4th century or 300 CE.
It is hard to know where to begin, but I think the best thing to do would be to describe a typical week here in Jordan.
Sunday morning is the start of our work week here. I wake up at 4:15 am and put on my dig gear. This includes my combat boots, a hat, sunglasses, khaki pants and a long sleeve shirt. This may seem weird to be wearing long sleeves in the desert but you want as much protection from the sun as possible. We then load the vehicles with supplies and get on the bus to the site. The site is about an hour north of Aqaba. We then get off the bus and start working, groggily mind you since most of us are still half asleep. We work removing layers of sand called loci from our squares which have been strategically selected within the fort and surrounding areas such as the bathhouse. Some days we may find buckets full of pottery and material culture such as coins, and sometimes we hold our heads low when we return empty handed. We work until 9:30 at which time we have our field breakfast. This consists of hard boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, tomatoes and cucumbers, soft cheese, and pita with jam. We then return to work until noon at which time we return to Darna.
Then its nap time!!
At 4 pm we have lab time. This is where we sit with ceramicist (Tiffany) and either clean the pottery we found that day or read the pottery from the day before.
At 7 pm we have a lecture. The topic varies dramatically. We have had lectures on everything from religion to pottery types to Roman bathhouse architecture.
At 8 pm we eat dinner. Most of the time it consists of some type of chicken and rice. Beef is extremely rare here and pork is not allowed to be eaten by Muslims. We have also had fish and lamb. (And maybe goat. I don’t ask a lot of questions.)
We go to bed directly out of dinner because we have to wake up so early. This process repeats for the next four days. Friday and Saturday being our weekend.
A typical weekend consists of traveling on Friday to an archaeological site or doing some sort of group activity (like yachting). On Friday nights we travel into town in mall groups. It is most always a few girls with one guy. This is mostly cultural. Women are not supposed to be in public unescorted for their safety. Women and men are both required to dress extremely modest when we go into town. I have to wear a shirt above my collar bone, a sweater below my elbow, and long pants. This is also for cultural norms. We walk around the suhk (marketplace) or just sit and have coffee at Gloria Jean’s.
Saturday is our free day. We can do whatever we want. Most Saturdays I go snorkeling in the Red Sea. I mean if you had that opportunity you would take it too. The rest f the day consists of relaxing from the stress and physical labor of the week.
This routine is facilitated by copious amounts of water. I drink at least 4.5 liters a day. It is so hot here that one can easily dehydrate if they do not actively fight it.
I hope this gave you an incite into what I am doing. I will post again soon!
The team is taking elevations using the Cold War method. We also have fancy equipment.
Mostly Jordanian food plus hotdogs.
I am on a yacht!! That is all…
This is Sugarbush’s square from a distance.
Darna Village is the adorable family operated hostel we stay at.
This Jordanian flag flies high above Aqaba.