Day 29: Salt and Fuheis
As Salt Travel Blog› entry 52 of 54 › view all entries
Today was more or less a bonus day. We hadn't really planned anything, and there were no more interesting day trips to be booked from the hotel in Amman, so we decided to see if there was anything to do in the surroundings of the capital.
We took a bus (yes, a real, genuine, proper public bus, they *do* have them here after all) to the town of Salt. During the occupation of the Ottoman Turks this was the capital of the Jordan province and the city is about 1950 years older than Amman.
That doesn't mean there is a whole lot to see of this history. Sure, there are some historical buildings in the city centre, but these aren't more than 150 years old. For the rest the city is just as ugly as all other cities in this country, with the difference that it is situated in a spectacular location in a steep canyon.
As we were walking through the old centre we passed the old English Hospital. Our travel guide describes the place as 'an old, historic building' but it is much more than that. These days the building accommodates a foundation, The Holy Land Institute For Deaf and Blind, that teaches handicapped children (not just deaf and blind) that come to this place from the entire Arab region.
As we were walking past the building we were approached by a little kid who had seen us walking past his bedroom window. “wait, wait” was his clear message, and a few moments later we were welcomed by Skander, who works as a caretaker or janitor. Skander is an Indian muslim, who migrated to Jordan 20 years ago.
Before we knew it we received a full tour around the immens building. In the past 10 years the building has been completely restored by volunteers.
There are also plans to build a coffee shop and a guest house, in order to attract more tourists or temporary volunteers to the place.
After walking around maze of hallways for about an hour we arrived at the residential quarters where Skander offered us a cup of tea (what else).
For the umpteenth time we were touched by the friendliness and hospitality of the people in this region. Skander had given us the tour for the simple reason that he likes to meet foreigners, and he takes pride in the work they do at the hospital (and justly so).
We decided that despite the double agenda of the foundation (this is after all a Christian missionary in a predominantly Muslim country) they are doing very good work here, and we left a hefty donation for the school.
For more info on the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf see these websites:
Skander walked us to the bus station before saying goodbye to us as if we were his best and dearest friends (which in this region is traditionally done with three loud kisses on the cheek).
We took another bus to the little town of Fuheis. This is a very picturesque town which is famous for its two restaurants that serve something that is unique in Jordan: culinary Arabian food!
As today was our last day in Jordan we figured this would be the perfect location for our last supper. It was more a late lunch rather than an early dinner, as we wanted to be back in Amman on time. It surprised us how the place was almost full at 4 in the afternoon - quite a difference from Syria and Lebanon where you don't have to go to a restaurant before 9 PM.
The food was indeed terrific, and by far the best we had had in Jordan.