Throughout the fall term, Dartmouth women's lacrosse players will be sending in updates from their travels around the globe. Team members are currently studying, interning and volunteering abroad in a variety of countries thanks to the flexibility provided by the College's four-quarter Dartmouth-Plan system. Each student-athlete will provide at least one blog entry about her experiences.
Hilary Smith (Bronxville, N.Y.) • JR, M
Madaba, Jordan • Teaching
Siteseeing in Jordan is a totally different experience from siteseeing anywhere in the States. Apart from the different histories, here you can touch things, climb on them, take flash photography, and pretty much do what you like on ancient ruins or cities that date back to thousands of years ago. So far, my favorite trips here have been to the Dead Sea, and Petra.
The Dead Sea is about a 45 minute trip from Madaba, and the drive takes you up Mt. Nebo (where Moses is buried), down the other side and into the valleys before winding over to the Dead Sea shore. It was incredible to float in the sea, because the salt content is so high that you can basically lie on top of the water. Unfortunately, that means it tastes disgusting when you accidently swallow some - oops. At the end of the day, we covered ourselves in mud from the shore and sat in the sun for about 20 minutes to let it dry before washing it off. Dead Sea mud is supposed to be incredibly good for your skin, so we just got a free spa treatment. One of my coolest experiences so far was floating on top of the water while looking at West Bank, Palestine - only a few miles across the Sea.
Petra was a whole other kind of experience. It's a huge ancient city that was carved into the mountains in around the sixth century BC. I was on weekend duty, so I went with another teacher and a group of students. We took a bus from the school all the way down to Petra, which is in Southern Jordan - about a 3 hour drive. By far, the best part of the trip was the treasury, Al Kazneh, which was actually used in the Indiana Jones movie - the Last Crusade - as the entrance to the temple housing the Holy Grail (not true). Walking around the city was amazing. When you looked off the sides of the paths, you can see caves and homes carved into the sides of the rock. People actually still lived in Petra until the late 80's when they were then forced to leave. Apart from the heat, which was intense, the most difficult thing about visiting Petra was the little rickshaws pulled by horses or donkeys that would blow by you at about 30 miles an hour through the narrow gulley, making sure you were always looking around the next corner to avoid getting hit.
Here are some pictures of the Dead Sea, Petra, and me!