Blog Roll Updates, Natasha Tynes, and Jordan

I stayed up last night and updated the right bar a little bit. I got rid of that hideous “Christian Top 1000” button in favor of clean and simple text. The link still works, I just don’t wince anymore when I look at it.

I also revamped the blog roll a little and made a new category: “These May Admit to Knowing Ed and/or Josh.” For the most part they are fellahs I met in seminary or in college. I keep in touch with some more than others, but I do read all of their blogs.

To my shock and amazement, I found that several blogs that I read every day via rss in bloglines are not in my blog roll. My brothers and sisters, this should not be so. I haven’t put all of them in yet because I had a really hard time copying and pasting due to the afforementioned swapping of “Fn” and “CTRL” on my keyboard. Yes, I almost detroyed the right bar of this blog last night.

The one blog I made sure to include was Natasha Tynes. Natasha is a Jordanian journalist who lives with her husband in the Washington D.C. area. She’s friends with Jill Carroll and has the unenviable duty of blogging about Jordan, a country caught between the east and the west.

She has important insights on world affairs and the status of Jordan, but sometimes it can be depressing to hear about the murder of women by thier own families because they brought disgrace to the family through immoral behavior. I mean, gosh, you just killed your own sister to save your family’s honor?

And speaking of Jordan . . . I thought that I would afflict you with a few stories about my time in the country of Jordan.

In the Fall of 2000 I studied in Israel with about 120 other American students at Jerusalem University College right outside the old city of Jerusalem. Part of our class involved a few days in Jordan.

This was a big deal to me. Jordan was a highlight since I’ve always wanted to visit Petra eversince I saw it on the cover of my Petra (classic Christian rock band) praise cassett. My desire was only heightened when I saw the third Indiana Jones. And yes, I got a picture that is the exact same shot as the one in Indiana Jones when he comes riding in to Petra.

I had a great time in Jordan. We didn’t get to know the people in the same way as the Jews and Palestinians in Jerusalem, but everyone we did meet was friendly and helpful.

There was one incident where my friends and I brought some serious stares though from our Jordanian hosts.

We arrived at a hotel in Petra (not in the rock city of course) after a sweltering hot day of visiting ancient Christian churches, ruins of old cities, and dried out wadis. After a 3-4 hours bus trip that did not include Indiana Jones 3 due to tv malfunctions, we settled into our rooms, ate dinner, and spied a swimming pool.

Now this made sense at the time. Dessert=hot. Hot days=hot water. We did not factor in the cold nights. Immediately after dinner myself and two friends got into our bathing suits and made a dash for the pool. The evening was cool, but not so bad at this point.

Nevertheless, all of the maids and other hotel staff that we passed just stared at us. Really stared.

And so without any thought, we jumped into the pool. It was like diving into a cooler full of ice and freezing water. I have never been so cold in all of my life.

We jumped out hooting and hollering, screaming and carrying on. Many of the hotel staff were now watching these stupid American kids attempting to give themselves hypothermia. After one last jump in, more screaming, and the attempt of one friend to actually swim a lap, we ran back to our room wrapped in towels and shivering profusely.

My future wife was hanging out with a friend in the hotel room next door and heard all of the racket as we came tearing back to our room. It made for interesting conversation at some point in our relationship.

Of course I did lots of other things while in Jordan that were less dumb, but that is one of the things that stands out in my mind and makes me cringe. Maybe I’ll post some of my Petra pictures here some day to make amends for my stupid swim in that freezing pool.