We were determined not to let the icy cold rain, nor the thick putrid smoke of Ammanian cigarettes spoil the city experience.

Just quick words about cigarette smoke.  We are not smokers.  We avoid it whenever we can.  However from time to time in various places, people have been smoking around us.  Sometimes the tobacco is okay or faintly smells of cloves or sometimes even mildly sweet.  Sometimes people were polite about their smoking while at other times they’d smoke right under the No Smoking signs and blow puffs in our faces.  The cigarette smoko e in Amman, (and yes, everywhere we were in Amman), smelled like soot from chemical factory.  How people inhaled this was beyond me.  There was almost no off limit areas either.  Museums, taxis, buses, restaurants, and even hotels allowed people to smoke these horrid brands of cigarettes and bellowing plumes of the stuff.  It made New Delhi air and all the burning plastic seem like a rose garden.

The Citadel

The temple of Heracles in the background.

The cold rain seemed to pierce our flimsy rain jacket and layers.  Undeterred we climbed the steps to the Citadel which possessed a commanding view of the city.  At every turn there were ruins and signs of ancient civilization.  From various viewpoints a 360 view of the city could be seen.

One of the highlights was visiting the Archaeological Museum.  Here we learned about early human development in Amman and many of the archaeological treasures found.  Inside we found archaeological finds going back to 8000BC, indicating that this area has been in use by one human civilization or another for a very long time.  Some of the civilizations that used the area were Persians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Umayyad and Ayyubid dynasties.

It wasn’t quite a history book, but on the road learning looks different at the Citadel Archaeological Museum.

Also of great interest was learning how thoughtful each civilization was about water.  At the apex of the Citadel was a giant cistern.  Elaborate canals and grooves collected and distributed the water.

The Citadel’s giant cistern.

The Roman Theater

Sharleen and Kylie make their way up the steep steps of the Roman Theater.

Just down the hill from the Citadel was the Roman Theater.  Built around 140AD during the reign of Antonious Pius, the Theater was carved into a hill.  Over 6000 people could be seated there.  When standing at the focal point of the stage, our voices echoed throughout the auditorium — fantastic acoustics.  We visited two museums on either side of the theater that showcased Jordanian handicrafts through history and traditional clothing.  However, the docents were smoking so heavily inside that we had to leave.

It’s hard to believe, but this place sat over 6000 people.  And those carved steps, at nearly 2000 years old have seen a lot of foot traffic.

Early Civilization Timeline

We also enjoyed walking around old Jordan area.  Although there were lots of tourist gedunk, we found a local market to stock up on food for our long bus ride to Petra.   I don’t know why, but sometimes local market food looks so appealing.  It seems to me that although we have food displayed and on sale like this at home it is considered “luxury” purchases, and that if we want cheap we buy it bulk or in a jar.  Here, it seemed quite the opposite.  Supplies were plentiful and reasonable.

I purchased a mixed back of olive yummies for 1 dinar.  They were sooooo  salty!
I couldn’t pass up the dates and apricots.
I passed on these, but found them colorful and inviting!


  1. Hi Dan,
    I got behind on reading your posts, just because I’ve been busy lately. Then I binge read 15 posts in a row! I commented after I read you had been ill but for some reason it didn’t post. But then I read about the hospital visit, so am relieved you were treated and back to health.
    You are giving your girls an incredible education with this trip. It will change their lives forever. I look forward to seeing them become adults. Who knows what they will accomplish to make the world a better place.
    I enjoy your posts so much. It is as if I am journeying with you, except that I am comfortable at home while you guys are doing all the work!


    • Thank you so much for your kind words Cecilia. I think a lot about education and what it means here on the road. It is hard to tell if they are “falling behind” or “keeping up” by regular educational standards. They are certainly learning a great deal differently and experientially! The hope for me has always been that this trip will provide context for their future learning and frame their learning posture. It’s been really hard to practice Aikido as of late. I was in a few places that had dojos, but the air quality was so miserable and I was feeling so awful. I hope all is well with you, your family, and the dojo! -Dan


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