My first day of activities has pretty much ended and I am extremely excited about what I have been taking in so far and the journey that is still ahead of me. It's been so wonderfully overwhelming that I'm practically shaking! (Although that may just be the Turkish coffee making its way through my veins). Today we had a couple of lectures: one about history and one about water resources. Since it is fairly early in the seminar and we have just begun to delve into the conflict, I would rather focus today's entry on something that is a bit less heavy but is essential to Jordanian culture: FOOD!
Today was a sensory overload in many ways, but between the ancient ruins and death defying traffic experiences lay meals which have helped define my early impressions of Jordan.
Our first meal was lunch at a restaurant in the heart of downtown Amman. The mint lemonade, served blended like a smoothie with fresh mint leaves, was recommended to the group and soon became our go to drink choice. The lunch featured a wide array of flavorful vegetarian appetizers and salads. There was so much that just getting a taste of each felt like a full meal. But that was just the beginning. Next came the grilled lamb and chicken served with hummus and flatbread. I haven't eaten much lamb at home but I have never been a very big fan of it...until now. For dessert was some sort of an creamy cheesy sweet treat that had the consistency of jello and tasted like ice cream. It may sound somewhat strange but taste is what matters and it certainly satisfied. The wonderful food mixed with the sounds of Arabic music and the smell of hookah smoke was enough to make you fall head over heels for Jordan in an instant.
Our next meal was just as wonderful, if not more so. It was at a famous Lebanese restaurant right up the street from the hotel. The dinner was structured similarly to the lunch; appetizers followed by lamb and chicken and dessert, but the sheer volume of food was enough to make you very certain when you turn down that second helping of falafel.