Archives for March 2011

To the airport

So bittersweet.

Two trips to the airport in the next few hours. The first is Shauna’s departure for Seattle. I will be sad to see her go. The second? I’m heading to Sri Lanka!

See you in a week.

xo, jill

Instant Oman

with special guest.

Last week I zipped off to the airport and brought home a very favorite friend. How exciting to see Shauna’s face just a few feet away!

The next day we kick started our weekend by running off to Oman for a hotel stay and dhow cruise.

Here’s a little instant sneak peek courtesy of the camera Shauna so nicely agreed to bring over:

More to come.

xo, jill

Kiva Loan: March

3 down, 9 to go!

Very exciting news when I logged into my Kiva account today. My January loan is beginning to repay! I had a credit of $1.39! When I finally realized what was going on I was pumped… and even more ready to chose my March loan.

photo from Hilaria’s Kiva posting

My Kiva loan for the month of March goes to Hilaria Bienvenida Herrera Suarez who lives in Ecuador. She runs a small grocery store in her home. She plans to use her loan to buy more goods and necessities for her store.

Have you made a loan yet? If so, have you been repaid?

xo, jill

Novelty Snacks of Jordan

“Do we have this in UAE?”

Novelty Snack: Didn’t get a photo of the English name
Description: Potato snack in fun shapes like dinosaurs and airplanes
Tastes Like: eating Top Ramen raw from the bag with the seasoning
Verdict: Thumbs up!

Novelty Snack: Tamdabu!
Description: A vanilla cookie with a chocolate 8 pointed star in the middle
Tastes Like: A cookie you want to eat again and again
Verdict: Thumbs up!

Novelty Snack: Grenadine Ginseng Soda
Description: A “healthy” soda flavored with grenadine
Tastes Like: Cough syrup a little bit
Verdict: Thumbs neutral

Novelty Snack: Chips Cha Cha
Description: A cheese flavored chip
Tastes Like: A cheesy chip!
Verdict: Thumbs up!

Novelty Snack: Snack Mix
Description: A lightly flavored potato snack
Tastes Like: The standard dehydrated potato chip with a salty seasoning that I’ve had in every country
Verdict: Thumbs up!

Novelty Snack: Gringos
Description: A cheese ball that must be popular with Mexican people? We were pretty confused by the choice for spokesmen.
Tastes Like: A not so good cheese on a puffy stale ball
Verdict: Thumbs neutral but you know I finished them off for her

Novelty Snack: Mannix
Description: A wafer cookie covered in chocolate
Tastes Like: It’s the standard chocolate covered wafer you’d find anywhere, nothing fancy
Verdict: Thumbs up!

Novelty Snack: Dance
Description: Chocolate on one side, vanilla on the other
Tastes Like: You want to do a dance right in the middle of a crusader castle even though the flavor is actually kind of off and not so tasty
Verdict: Thumbs neutral

xo, jill

Baby Kittles of Jordan

Dog lovers beware.

This might be weird. I’m not sure. I’m just going to say it. My favorite part about visiting Jordan was… seeing all the cats. Seriously. The cats were so adorable. And cute. And friendly. And clean. You probably don’t believe that last one. (But it’s true!).

Here I’ve done my best to whittle down the 100+ cat photos taken by Molly, Caitlin, and myself.

Here are the non-orange cats. They were definitely the minority.

Molly and a friendly cat.

Tourist cats. These ones looked like they were there for the sights.

The climbers. Probably the most hilarious of cat encounters.

Caitlin and some climbers.

My day being made.

Model-like and not so friendly cats.

Cuddlesome cats.

Can you tell I miss having a cat around?

xo, jill

The desert castles…

…made a Bedouin out of me.

Arriving in Azraq we felt a bit… uneasy. It was clear that the town is not a magnet for travelers. Our guidebook mentioned two hotels. One we couldn’t find. And the other…we couldn’t find. We eventually found one of the places and checked into an empty box of a building reminiscent of a hospital or dorm. Not very cozy, although the proprietor offered us a slew of dates. Next we headed back out to find food. After several passes down the main (and only) street we settled on a place that perhaps wasn’t accustomed to hosting women.

Back at the hotel things were feeling a bit fishy. Large trucks were out front loaded with canisters. More canisters were surrounding the walkway. Molly thought for certain they were smuggling illegal goods into Saudi. I guess we’ll never know…

The hotel didn’t offer heat or hot water, so we skedaddled pretty quickly the next morning. We decided to hit the desert castles on our drive back to Amman.

First up was Qasr Azraq. Nothing too extraordinary to see but it was the garrison used by T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) during the Great Arab Revolt.

photo by Molly

Next, we visted Qasr Amra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

photo by Molly

The inside walls feature frescoes… some of which are quite bawdy (for Islam).

photo by Molly

Amra is also where our guide decided to make me “a Bedouin woman.” I kept refusing to look up because he was so close I was just sure he was going to kiss me. Eep!

photos by Molly

The last castle we visited was Qasr Kharanah.

I know this photo is blurry but it makes me laugh. It’s the perfect depiction of Molly and Caitlin on this trip. Caitlin was a pretty good sport about all of our teasing!

At this point we thought perhaps we might have a low tire. Better to get back to Amman for a bit of souvenir shopping before heading out the next day.

photo by Molly

xo, jill

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