Serious Picnicking, Jordanian Style

IMG_0097Over the past week I've come to the conclusion that living here in Amman is my dermatologist's nightmare. With temperatures well into the 70s and even up close to 90 yesterday, we are living outside. My skin is already a lovely tawny color - no sunbathing required - just an open sunroof, internet surfing while sitting on our balcony, lunches outdoors, tennis. The season kicked off last Friday when a large group of us drove to the outskirts of the town of Madaba, about an hour's drive from Amman, to a ridge overlooking the Dead Sea, just across from Mount Nebo (which is where it's believed Moses was given a view of the Promised Land). Our friends Omar and Tala often picnic in this area and they led us to the most spectacular spot full of purple thistles, wildflowers, poppies, tall grasses. The air smelt of wild sage as I got out of the car.Spring in Jordan is a very special time of year as its countryside is lush and green compared to the arid landscape that dominates the rest of the year. On Fridays (a day of prayer and rest) whenever we've driven outside the capital, the valleys and hills have been covered with groups of families picnicking. Often they'll not be terribly adventurous and make their camp just feet from the side of the road, but regardless of the tranquillity of the spot, it seems that Jordanians are as enamoured with their beautiful climate and scenery as I am.