Sunday, 9 December 2012

brown paper packages...

read recently in kennysia about borderlinx, so decided to give it a try, since amazon dun ship to sandland. maybe they just don't trust the desert camels?

anyway, i managed to get a good deal for a wireless headphone that i've been eyeing during the black friday sales on amazon, so i had the item sent to my US address for free. but when i wanted to forward the item from the US to me, i found out i can only ship the item to m'sia, because it's where my billing address is. 

their cost calculator showed that shipping to the sandland is much cheaper than to m'sia, but since i've already registered myself as in m'sia, then i can't change that. ok fine, pay an extra of about RM40 to have it shipped back home. i can live with that... no choice also, right?

but then i found out that i'd need either a maybank credit card or a visa card for the shipment. what?!? i only have 2 m'sian master cards! so how? my item is stuck at my "suite" in the US. i can't send it back nor forward!

so i created another account with borderlinx, but this time registered my billing address under sandland. i was thinking maybe there's a way for me to merge the 2 accounts, but no such luck. so i tried contacting their customer service via online chat (i'm a great fan of this feature!). this person at the other end, greg, was really very helpful. he checked why i wasn't able to make payment with my mastercard, as it wasn't stated anywhere that only visa is accepted. it seems that this is because i'm registered under the maybank cluster, so they only accept maybank credit cards and visa cards. i forgot, but i must've clicked on the link from kennysia, which was an advert! so of course the link will bring me to the maybank cluster, whatever that means! duh!

anyway, i explained to greg that i have also created another account but registered under sandland, and asked if i could have the item moved to my this other suite. he did some more checks, and maybe because other than the country, all the other info were the same, so he said he's able to do that. yays!

the next day, i saw that the item has been moved, so i made the (cheaper by RM40) payment for the shipment. i'm also able to pay using paypal here! *boo to maybank!!!* and like 2 days after that, i received a call from dhl enquiring about my location!

these are a few of my favourite things!

yays to greg, whoever you are! :)

jordan day 2: gadara

ok, it's very obvious that i'm getting lazier in updating. so to make it less tedious, i'm gonna post by place of interest, instead of by day... hehehe... 


a hearty breakfast from the hotel's buffet line before setting out.

our first stop was to the ancient town of gadara in umm qais town, about 1.5 hour's drive up north from amman. along the way, the landscapes changed drastically, from a crowded city, to hilly landscape, to totally flat landscape etc. very interesting to see the obvious changes, but too bad we didn't take any photos while in the van.

umm qais is situated at northwest of jordan, sharing the border with israel and syria. 

 gadara is an ancient town upon which many civilizations have been built upon. this was also said to be where, according to all three synoptic gospels, jesus healed the demoniac and sent the demons into a herd of swine which ran into the sea of galilee. anyway, the most obvious ruins here are that of the romans (who else?).

entrance into the west theatre.

west theatre, built entirely of basalt.

 the church terrace

during the byzantine and early islamic periods, 2 churches were built on a terrace which had been constructed on the western slope of the acropolis during the 2nd century a.d. the churches replaced an earlier roman public building, probably a colonnaded hall or a market basilica. during the first half of the 6th century a.d., a church consisting of a square building with an octagonal interior was erected in the approximate centre of the terrace.

the finds of 4 tombs and 5 reliquaries in the churches indicate the importance of the complex. probably this was a site of pilgrimage, in which the tomb in the middle of the earlier church may have been the grave of a venerated martyr. like the west theatre and many other buildings in gadara, the churches were destroyed by earthquakes in the middle of the 8th century.

a quaint lil coffee house on top of a small hill, overlooking the sea of galilee.

view from the coffee house. the sea of galilee is to the extreme left (not very visible) 

at the top of west theatre

in the 2nd century a.d., the west theatre was built against the western slop of the acropolis. its auditorium offered space for approximately 3000 visitors and, like the semicircular orchestra, is built entirely of basalt.

the auditorium (cavea) is built in 3 storeys, which are subdivided into wedge-shaped sections of seats. underneath the second storey runs a vaulted corridor (crypta). 4 entrances (vomitoria) gave access from the corridor to the upper part of the auditorium. most of the entrances to the theatre collapsed during the earthquakes. likewise, very little remains of the former stage building (sceanae frons), which once blocked the view of the surrounding landscape. 

theatres in antiquity served various purposes. not only were tragic plays and comedies staged here, religious and political festivities were also conducted in the theatre. 

the so-called west theatre, which was destroyed by an earthquake in the 8th century, was only 1 of 3 theatres used by the gadarenes. there was also the larger north theatre and a 3rd smaller theatre at hammat gader in yarmouk valley.

view of the gadara from the direction of the sea of galilee...

we were only allocated about 30 min here, but actually there weren't that much to see also lar...