Optical illusion in Qasr al Abd ,`Iraq al Amir, ِAmman, Jordan – خداع بصري داخل قصر العبد، عراق الأمير، عمان، الأردن

These photos were taken on 22/06/2014 inside of Qasr al Abd (literal translation from Arabic: palace of the slave) (Wikipeida article) close to the village of ‘Iraq Al Amir (Wikipedia article), Amman, Jordan.

According to Wikipedia, this palace dates back to almost 200 B.C. In it, I saw the largest building stones in a historical place in Jordan. The next photo gives an indication about how large the stones of this palace are.

A nice tourist serving as a scale for this photo

A nice tourist serving as a scale for this photo

 

These are general views from inside the palace:

Qasr al Abd Qasr al Abd Qasr al Abd

 

Inside of the palace, my brother and I did the following “risky” stunt:


Optical illusion inside of Qasr al Abd ,`Iraq al Amir, ِAmman, Jordan خداع بصري داخل قصر العبد، عراق الأمير، عمان، الأردنOptical illusion inside of Qasr al Abd ,`Iraq al Amir, ِAmman, Jordan خداع بصري داخل قصر العبد، عراق الأمير، عمان، الأردن (2)

 

Concerning the two of me in the above photo, my brother took two photos of me at two different times from almost the same spatial ponit. Therefore, I could put the two photos on top of each other using PowerPoint and then cropped one photo to only show me. Following are the two original photos:

Optical illusion inside of Qasr al Abd ,`Iraq al Amir, ِAmman, Jordan خداع بصري داخل قصر العبد، عراق الأمير، عمان، الأردن

4

Cropped part

Cropped part

Concerning that my brother and I did a risky stunt, we did not do that because what you see is an optical illusion. Actually, we did not plan that. We just disocvered the illusion while viewing the photos on PC. He and I jumped not from the second floor but from the column in which I am standing on in the second photo. The landing point is not the ground but a continuation of wall. That means a less than meter difference in altitude between the two points. So, it is not as dangerous as it seems. Actually, I do not think it was dangerous at all. Therefore, the next time you happen to pass by Qaser al Abd, you know where and in which position to take a photo.

More photos from our visit:

 

Are there English Book Clubs in Amman? There is the JCI Amman Book Club and here is my Experience!

Are there English Book Clubs in Amman?

Are there English Book Clubs in Amman? Source of photo: a Flickr account of infowidget.

I was recently invited to two book clubs in Amman. However, both of them only discussed Arabic books. No, I am not against Arabic books. I am just against one not doing the best to improve his/her knowledge of English! By reading in English, certainly, a person will dramatically improve his/her English. There are other less important reasons why I prefer the English language. I discussed them in this post: Why is it a huge disadvantage to Blog in any language other than English? And yes, am I traitor? ““Moa’bite, why are you using English not Arabic? You should be faithful to your mother language” Am I traitor?

Therefore, I decided to search google for an English book club in Amman, Jordan. I have never participated in a book club in my life. After all, I do not think they are many here in Jordan. I searched google for “English book club in Amman” and “English book club in Jordan” and I was amazed not to arrive at only one club. This book club is called the JCI Amman Book Club. Is it possible that there are no more English Book Clubs in Amman? Or are they simply not appearing in google search results? This is highly unlikely as I think that my above search terms should lead me to any English book club in Amman.

Do you know of any English book clubs in Amman? If yes, can you make a comment on this post? Can I conclude that JCI Amman Book Club the only English book club in Amman? 

The JCI Amman Book Club:

Logo of JCI Amman - Book Club

Logo of JCI Amman – Book Club

The info page of this Book Club says that this club was “founded” in “2012”. In addition, it provides some general information about this club. Howver, it does not answer the question of the origin of the acronym JCI. JCI Amman is part of an international organization called Junior Chamber International (JCI) which was founded in 1944. Wow! This is a very detailed Wikipedia article about JCI.

Information about JCI Book Club Amman

Source: Facebook Page of JCI Amman Book Club.

JCI Amman has a facebook group. I applied for membership yesterday and I am waiting to be accepted into it. You can find the group here.

In the past days, I read a post in JCI Amman’s facebook page announcing about a coming event. The event took place yesterday at 7 o’clock in Readers Bookshop, Cozmo’s 7th circle branch, Amman.

JCI Amman Book Club Event on 29.02.2014 in Readers Bookshop Cozmo

A post announcing for yesterday’s event from JCI Amman’s facebook page.

A friend of mine and I decided to go. We arrived approximately in time. About 10 people had already arrived.  A young man and a young woman who are of the managing committee of the club welcomed us with big smiles. Before asking us who we are, the man asked, “How did you know about our club?” I answered very concisely, “From facebook“. The young woman was very happy about this method in which we came to know about their club. I then wanted to give more details. I told how I had googled for an English book club in Amman and only found their club. “You are the only English book club in Amman!” I said. A young man then quickly commented on my description of the club: “Well, we discuss English books. However, we discuss Arabic books too!“. After I had heard this answer, I was a little bit disappointed. Nonetheless, “something is better than nothing”. We then we sat down and waited for the event to begin. Gradually, the number of attending people increased to be between 25 and 30.

The event started. In turn, about 7-8 persons were given chances to speak for 10 minutes about any topic they chose. Some discussed books, others read poems, and quotes. I think that approximately half the speakers spoke in English. Nonetheless, this was mixed with a lot of Arabic. After each presentation, the floor was opened for very brief but very beautiful discussion. All the discussions took place in Arabic.

At another part of the event, a young man presented a short biography about the life of Martin Luther King (totally in Arabic). I understood at each meeting they choose a person to talk a little bit about his/her biography. Martin Luther King was chosen for this time because his birthday was a few days ago; his birth was on 15/01/1929 (you can read more at the Wikipedia article about him).

The last speaker, and this was the most beautiful part of the event, was a New Zealander-Iraqi author called Ali Sahkir. He was hosted to discuss a recent book that he had published. The book is called “A Muslim on the Bridge: On Being an Iraqi-Arab Muslim in the Twenty-First Century”.  Although this part of the meeting lasted for less than 15 minutes, but I liked it very much. I discuss this important part in a separate post and I also explain how through it I won the most expensive gift in my life [A meeting with the author Ali Shakir about his book “A Muslim on the Bridge: On Being an Iraqi-Arab Muslim in the Twenty-First Century”].

Mr. Saleh Al-Hanash, President of JCI Book Club Amman 2014 صالح الحنش رئيس الغرفة المحلية عمان الأردن

Mr. Saleh Al-Hanash, President of JCI Book Club Amman 2014

With Mr. Ali Shakir, the event became to an end. Later, I went and talked with the person who is the president of JCI Amman, Mr. Salih Al-Hanash. Mr. Al-Hanash welcomed me very friendly in the club. I asked him about the steps in which a person can become a member of JCI Amman. He told me that a person need to come for at least 2-3 times to show us his interest. After that, he can register in return for JD 59 annual subscription. Mr. Al-Hanash told me that there are benefits from this subscription. He talked about courses and reminded me of a discount that an employee from the Book Readers bookshop had announced earlier that night. However, I did not inquire more as it was already very late and every one wanted to leave.

JCI Amman Meeting Review, Wednesday 8.1.2014

All in all, it was an interesting event although English was not used more than third of the time. I would love to go again and try more. However, some of the events that JCI Amman holds are to discuss Arabic books. I will probably not attend these. But, for example, about one month from now, they nominated four English books and one Arabic book for the members to choose one of them. I think that an English book will be chosen. I will read it and most probably go. Will you go too?

Update 27/02/2014:

It turned out that I had a misunderstanding. Yesterday, I attended the monthly book discussion in JCI Amman. Although the discussion was for an English book (The Happiness Project), I was surprised when I found out that more than 90% of the discussion was in Arabic. In other words, if a person who do know Arabic attended the meeting, he would not have understood anything. I talked with the president of JCI Jordan about my disappointment and that I had thought that the JCI Amman Book Club is an English Book Club. Or at least, when English books are chosen, then the conversation should be in English. He told me very friendly that the goal of JCI Amman Book Club is to increase knowledge and spread the culture of reading. This does not necessarily take place all in English. I showed understanding as I think that not all members of the club would love the discussion to be all in English (We are Arabs… we have our culture… our language…). Moreover, I am not sure how many of the members can understand and speak English very well. Because these members are afterall members of a Jordanian Arabic book club that also discusses Arabic books.

Finally, I thanked the president a lot for the two nice meetings that I had attended at JCI Amman. The board members are very intelligent, funny, and most important friendly. The discussion was very interesting. However, I do not have a lot of time and improving my English is a priority. I do not think that I will attend another book discussion by JCI Amman. Nonetheless, I highly recommend attending this book club as it is the only available option in Jordan when it comes to book clubs discussing English-written books.

Volunteering with Operation Smile Mission in Jordan – January 17th, 2014

Logo of Operation Smile

Logo of Operation Smile

Last Friday, 17/1/2014, I had the honor of volunteering in the screening day of an Operation Smile Mission in Al Hussein Hospital, Ein El Basha, Amman. Among students in my batch, only my friend Yazeed Azzam and I went to this event. It was the first time for both of us to participate in a mission by Operation Smile Jordan.

Originally, I came to know about Operation Smile Jordan through their facebook group. If you like to volunteer in Operation Smile Jordan then visit this group. My experience upon entering this group was the “most” beautiful one that I have ever had in my life. To spread the news about Opeartion Smile – Jordan, I wrote the following back in 03/06/2014 in my group “USMLE Takers – Jordan“:

Operation smile Jordan: Who hasn’t heard about operation smile? If you asked me about a voluntary medical organization, then this is the second that would cross my mind after “Doctors without borders”.

Operation Smile Jordanian website: http://jordan.operationsmile.org/

Their facebook group:https://www.facebook.com/groups/operationsmilejordan/

This is what is interesting: The admin welcomed me upon being accepted into the group with a comment (!!!). This was very nice because no one has ever welcomed me into a group before. Have you?

Next, she directed me to send them an email at ” info@operationsmile.jo” containing my contact details and what I do in life. She said that they will send me later on a special application form based on my profession.

Later on, I was told that, at any time, if I wanted to know further information: 

“I do recommend that you either call us at [0777327510] or visit us to know about us and ways in which you can help”

Summary of my experience: I am now more encouraged to go not only because of how famous this organization is, but also, because of how enthusiastic the welcoming was!

Anybody going with me?

Back to last Friday, I had to arrive at the hospital at 8 AM and when I did, was surprised by the number of people who were crowding inside and outside a tent that was erected in front of the hospital’s main entrance for registration purpose (I think). I easily and quickly noticed the very beautiful yellow-colored shirts worn by volunteers of Operation smile. A friend of mine was outside there coordinating things (Dr. Rami Abu-Alhuda). Dr. Rami has a huge voluntary experience with Operation Smile. Hearing his description of his experience  with operation smile was one of the main reason why I decided to go that day. I greeted him and he then told me to go inside,wear the Operation Smile shirt, and then find the job required from me.

Before I enter to wear my shirt and start working, a view of the dawn at 7:53 AM, above a mosque in Al-Baqa Refugee Camp, Amman, Jordan.

Before I enter to wear my shirt and start working, a view of the dawn at 7:53 AM, above a mosque in Al-Baqa Refugee Camp, Amman, Jordan.

Upon entering inside, I was happy with the huge number of volunteers. There were certainly many western volunteers. In addition, there were many Jordanian volunteers. Every one seemed to now what he was doing. I went and got my very comfortable and beautiful Operation Smile shirt.

Dr. Yazeed Ali Al-Azam and I with our very beautiful and comfortable operation smile shirts.

Dr. Yazeed Ali Al-Azam and I with our very beautiful and comfortable operation smile shirts.

Next, I was sent to an official Jordanian volunteer woman who checked a printed list to see where I am to work. I respect the organization of operation smile Jordan because they asked us to confirm our coming to the event 8 days before the mission. More impressing, they had sent us an email notifying us about this mission on 8/12/2013. This was the email:

Dear  Volunteers,

We are glad to inform you of Operation Smile Jordan’s upcoming mission which is scheduled from January 17th to January 23rd, 2014 at Al Hussein Hospital , Ein el Basha.

Screening days:

Friday, January 17th, 2014 (6:30 am – 6:00 pm) 

Note: On screening days, you are expected to work the WHOLE day from 6:30 am until 6:00 pm.

Surgery days:

Sunday, January 18th, 2014  – Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Note: On Surgery days, there will be two shifts (A and B).

 Shift A: 6:00 am – 2:00 pm
 Shift B: 12:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 (6:00 am – 3:00 pm)

Note: Meeting point for buses is at Regency hotel,Al Dakhleyyeh Circle.

Please note that buses will leave at their exact times so do not be late. IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO SHOW UP WITHOUT PREVIOUS COORDINATION WITH THE HUMAN RESOURCES COMMITTEE.  If you are willing to participate with us in this mission you HAVE to reply to this email with the days and the shifts that are suitable for you As Soon As Possible! 

Note: Deadline for reply, the end of Thursday January 9th,2014. 

Attached to this email is a document containing things you might need to bring or do when attending the mission, therefore, you are kindly requested to read it.

Kindly be informed that if you are attending the mission and need a request for a leave of absence letter ( School, University, Work) please send an email to info@operationsmile.jo

Ghalia Bassam 

A famous Jordanian plastic surgeon, Dr. Mahmood Bataineh, examined the hundreds of patients whom thought that Operation Smile could help them. Dr. Bataineh then filtered the patients whom operation smile could help. Those patients then passed through many examination rooms; vital signs, burns, anesthesia, dental, speech, among few others. I was assigned to one of the different examination rooms of the patients. I had the honor of getting to know many  nice and special doctors: Prof. Mostafa El-Sonbaty from Egypt, Dr. Bivik Shah from the USA, and Dr. Osama Qaffaf from Jordan,  among many others.

All of the doctors who worked in our clinic, plus some other volunteers.

All of the doctors who worked in our clinic, plus some other volunteers.

My friend Dr. Yazeed Ali Al-Azam and the volunteers in his clinic

My friend Dr. Yazeed Ali Al-Azam and the volunteers in his clinic

Name Tag of Dr. Bivik Shah. I place this Tag because an interesting info. According to Dr. Shah, name "Bivik" is very unique all over the world. I think that he told me that only he got that name. Isn't this interesting? To have a name that only few people in the whole world have?

Name Tag of Dr. Bivik Shah. I place this Tag because an interesting info. According to Dr. Shah, name “Bivik” is very unique all over the world. I think that he told me that only he got that name. Isn’t this interesting? To have a name that only few people in the whole world have?

We started working at about 9 o’clock. The clinics continued working, non-stop until after 5 PM. Even a lunch break or a prayer break was not made. Always, someone stayed in the clinics in order that that the flow of patients will not be interrupted. During working, the minister of health, Dr. Ali Hiasat, visited our clinic. In total 113 patients were examined. A Swedish-American Anesthesiologist  told me later that day that they would probably operate at least 90 of these patients.

A sixth-year student from the University of Jordan and I were required to keep record of all the patients who were examined in our clinic. This was the last paper we filled. The number of the last patient was 113.

A sixth-year student from the University of Jordan and I were required to keep record of all the patients who were examined in our clinic. This was the last paper we filled. The number of the last patient was 113. And yes, thanks Dr. Yazeed for allowing me to take the photo using the back of your Operation Smile shirt as a background 🙂

I tried to participate in other days. I sent an email last Saturday stating which days I could come. However, I did not get a reply. I should have done that long time ago. Because their email stated that a person cannot simply “show up without previous coordination” and that the deadline of reply was “the end of Thursday January 9th,2014”. So, why I had not sent this email earlier? I actually did not expect that I want to come more than one day to this mission. This is what I wrote in the email on Saturday:

This is Jameel Hijazeen. Yesterday, I had the very nice experience of volunteering with operation smile for the first time in my life.

I did not know my schedule this week, and yes, I thought that I would be bored, and therefore I did not intend to come for more than the screening day.

I entirely changed my mind. If there were a place, I would certainly love to participate. I can come in up to three of these five shifts.

I hope that I will have time to participate in their future mission. The experience was great. You will get to know people from different countries, see multiple medical conditions, experience unforgettable moments children who have really bad problems but still had great spirits, get a free shirt, lunch, and a lot of Falafel Sandwiches 🙂 . And yes, if you volunteer long enough, they will give you a certificate with that. Unfortunately, I could not get a certificate :(.

I highly suggest that you go and try volunteering with Operation Smile!

You can now do it online in Jordan: Aleef Express, Jamalon, and Hellofood Jordan as examples.

Recently, I came to know about this online food ordering company called “Hellofood Jordan”. This is an international company that has now opened a branch in Jordan. This promoted me to write this article. I am now amazed by the new widespread of online shopping options in Jordan. Today, I was happy to read about the service of Hellofood Jordan. You can order food from many restaurants with few clicks of you mouse or even, as in this great shopping option, with few touches of your fingers! This is a lot for me! Why?

I come from a small almost “isolated” village in the south of Jordan. It was until last June that I finished medical school and started living considerable days of the month in Amman. Since coming to our capital, I have been discovering the greatness of online marketing that is now available in Amman. “You can google for it!” In the past, this is a phrase that I had associated in almost entirely with searching for information. But no, in Amman, unlike in Smakieh, I started hearing this sentence when someone wants to buy something or get a service. These are three examples of online shopping options in Jordan nowadays.

My younger brother is a vet and works in a pet animals company called Aleef Express (You can also find Aleef on facebook here). My brother’s company gets many customers simply from internet search engines. At the beginning, because of my Village mentality, I did not believe how can a company trust a person who just calls and make an order. “Well,” my brother told me simply, “we have been always operating like this… This is normal in Amman”.

Logo of Aleef Express Pet Animals Copmany - Amman, Jordan

Logo of Aleef Express Pet Animals Copmany – Amman, Jordan

My borther’s company offers a lot of services for pet animals. In their website, you can read about them and order them all online. And yes, does your dog feel lonely? Be sure to check the Aleef Dog Walk.

Services provided by the Aleef Express Company, Amman, Jordan.

Services provided by the Aleef Express Company, Amman, Jordan.

Less than two months ago, my brother tried a Jordanian online books-selling website called Jamalon. This is also an amazing website that provides an online service. Who still has time to go to bookshops and start searching for books? Jamalon allows you to buy books through the internet. Again, I could not (and actually, still cannot) believe how such website operates. You order the books through the internet… You pay only upon the books’ arrival at your house. My brother tried it and bought two Arabic books for Dale Carnegie. And yes, my brother only paid after the books were delivered to a place he chose in return for an small “delivery charge”. Isn’t this amazing? I knew of Amazon.com, which provides a similar service, but an Arabic online book-selling website that operates in my country, this is my first!

Logo and description of Jamalon Arab Bookstore

Logo and description of Jamalon Arab Bookstore

Now, I am more impressed to know of online meals-buying websites called “Hellofood Jordan“. I am impressed because I know how hard is it to convince someone to buy a meal for you. I am not forgetting home delivery that each separate restaurant offers. I expect the time it takes to search for the number of a restaurant that you expect to have a meal you like, and then call to inquire about the meals, and then inquire about the prices, then give your home address… I think Hellofood Jordan will put an end to this misery. We are now in the 21st century!

Logo of Hellofood Jordan

Logo of Hellofood Jordan

Hellofood Jordan operates in a similar fashion to Aleef and Jamalon: Online ordering via the internet. The following is a screen shot from their main page:

Only four easy steps for ordering a meal from Hellofood Jordan!

Only four easy steps for ordering a meal from Hellofood Jordan!

Through Hellofood Jordan, I can see that you can so far order from 25 restaurants. Nonetheless, they cover versatile cuisines: pizzas, burgers, and in case I got Indian or Japanese readers in Jordan, Indian food, and Japanese food, only to name a few.

Moreover, I think that Hellofood Jordan will have an even more advantage because I read in their website that a mobile app of there is “coming soon”. They are now planning to allow food ordering via a mobile Application. Does another online-meals-company in Jordan have this service? I do not think so. Will Hellofood Jordan be the “first”? Let’s wait and see!

Hellofood Jordan: Ordering meals via a mobile app?

Hellofood Jordan: Ordering meals via a mobile app?

I have never ever tried Hellofood Jordan. When I have a good salary (because I am now a training doctor in the MOH, Jordan. Training doctors receive only 96.5 JD/month), then I think that the sum of money that this you pay extra for delivery is nothing compared to the time it saves you for going and buying the food yourself. Or even more, to request this person or that to make you a ‘favor’ and bring your lunch B6areeghom (in their way; while they are coming to where you are). I do not think that you can find a lot of such Samaritans! Moreover, you can ask for a favor not for more than once or twice… I do not think that anyone can bring your food: whenever you want it, from whichever restaurant you want it, and to wherever you want it! I will give it a try in the future!

What about you, have you ever tried Aleef, Jamalon, or Hellofood Jordan? What do you think?


Update 22/01/2014:
The hellofood app is out and you can now download it here:
Google Play store.
– Apple App Store.

I think that Jamalon, Aleef, or any other company should have a similar app! Technology is great!

German Movies Series at Goethe Institute, Amman, Jordan

Goethe Institutes Logo

 

I have attended two movies so far in Goethe institute Amman. I mainly attended these movies because I wanted to improve my German.  No one told me how things happen when these movies are shown. Here I am now trying to give a picture of what takes place each time a movie is shown. Overall, my experience was great!

 

A man from the Institute, who seems to me a good expert on movies, gives a few minutes of explanation in "German" regarding the background of the movie (the actors, the directors, the plots, the prizes the movie won; if any, important points to concentrate on, etc.). Can all the audience fully understand what is said? The answer is no and this is easily deduced because the head of Goethe Institute in Amman always translates what is being said in German.

We then watch the movie which is shown with subtitles (in the previous two times, they were Arabic).

After the movie finishes, and this is the best part in my opinion, the audience discusses the movie. This is a very beautiful thing because I am always impressed by the different ways each one seem to understand the movie. “Did we watch the same movie?” I one time asked myself.

Sometimes, points of disagreement arise. Each one would then have a chance to explain his point of view. The discussion takes place in German. At least, at the beginning! But as the heat of discussion increases, or as some of the non-German speaking people want to participate, the discussion ends in English. Very interesting!

"User discretion is advisable" as the movies are shown in full without any kind of censorship of the sexually-explicit contents. So, there will come the moments in which there are no clothes… kissing… so on and so forth of these scenes that are NEVER shown on Arabic channels airing foreign movies. This does not mean that the audience is all-males! Many females are there.

All in all, I have not formulated a full opinion regarding how much “language” benefit you get from attending such an activity by Goethe institute. Because last time, the movie that they showed told the story of an Italian family that immigrated to Germany. Nothing is wrong with the story, on the contrary, it was a nice movie. The problem was that at least 2/3 of the movie was in Italian! “It is a good movie, but I came to Goethe to improve my German”. I raised my hand and gave this feedback during the discussion. I think that they agreed with me.

I highly think that I will re-try the experience and attend others movies at Goethe! If the head of Goethe Institute is there translating and attending the movie with us, then this shows me how carefully prepared this activity is!

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p>An Ad of the coming movie that will be shown in Goethe on 31.10.2013

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