IELTS >> Academic Reading >> In the Academic module of the IELTS exam, there are three reading passages with a total of 40 questions spread across a wide variety of reading comprehension exercises: gap fill, paragraph matching, multiple choice, open questions, etc.

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IELTS Academic Reading - Worksheet 14

Choose the correct answer, A, B, C or D for each question.

1. Why didn't the author go to Iraq?
a. it wasn't possible for an American to go there
b. he couldn't get a visa
c. he couldn't afford the air fare
d. we aren't told

2. Why was the money changer treating the author "with disdain"?
a. he shouldn't have been working on the Muslim sabbath
b. it was late and he was about to close
c. the author was only changing one dollar
d. he didn't like Americans

3. What do you understand by the use of the word "alms" in the passage?
a. directions
b. food
c. charity
d. advice

4. How did the makers of the film 'The Message' avoid showing Mohammed himself?
a. the camera took on the perspective of Mohammed
b. he was always shown in a mask
c. his character was never in any scene, only spoken about
d. part of the screen was blackened

Jordan: Lost City Of The Black Desert

I was up early the next morning and caught a bus to Amman, the capital of Jordan. I said goodbye to Uros and Dusan, after swapping addresses. They were off to Iraq, of all places, a country Yugoslavs may enter easily, but where Americans have an extremely difficult time getting visas. My visa for Jordan was not difficult to get, however, it was issued to me at the border. The immigration officer, a trim and friendly man with a thick moustache and well pressed uniform, greeted me with the traditional "salaam aleikum" and gave me two weeks to see the kingdom, which seemed plenty of time.

After I crossed the border from Syria I headed for Jerash, the Pompeii of the Middle East and one of the best preserved Greco-Roman provincial cities in the world. It is located just to the north of Amman, within easy access by a local bus for the morning or afternoon. Though many of the buildings were destroyed by earthquakes in the 8th century A.D., much remains, and was used by Crusaders as a temporary garrison and fort. The excavations have revealed a clear pattern of former magnificence: a massive oval Forum, baths, theatres, temples and a visible complex of streets, columns, fountains and shops.

In order to get to Amman before dark, I had to leave Jerash by mid-afternoon, and take a bus heading south. It was an hour or so before dusk when I rolled into the city, and was dropped off in the town centre. I stood on the pavement with my backpack on my feet, wondering what to do next. To my horror, I realized that it was Friday, the Muslim sabbath, and all the banks were closed. There was a money exchange shop nearby and I dragged my pack over to the window, to see if I could cash some travellers cheques. They only dealt in cash, I was informed by the fat, balding man in stained white shirt. I dug into my money pouch to see if I had some cash dollars, and found only one slightly torn dollar bill. It was worn and tatty, but it was all I had. I placed it under the thick, bullet proof window and said firmly, "I'd like to cash one dollar please." With disdain, he picked up the bill by an edge and held it up to the window. "This?" he snorted. "You want me to change this?" "That is correct, sir," I said politely. "Humphh," he said, breathing out long and hard through his large nose. Silently he counted out a small amount of change for me, less than one Jordanian dinar, and pushed it under the window to me. "Thank you, sir," I said cheerfully, taking my precious change. He said nothing, and I walked away.

It seemed that the cheapest place to stay in Amman was the youth hostel, and even though I had been turned away from the one in Damascus, I figured that I would give the one in Amman a shot. Therefore, I took a bus up one of the hills that surround Amman to the vicinity of the youth hostel. It took me an hour of walking around the neighborhood with my pack on my back to discover that the youth hostel no longer existed! My day in Amman was not turning out too well, and as the first stars in the sky appeared, I asked a man who was dressed in a nice suit the way back into the centre of town. He told me to take a certain bus, but then I explained to him that I needed to walk, because I didn't have the money for a bus, having spent my last few fils on a feta cheese sandwich. He looked at me with genuine concern and said, "Here, take this money. This is plenty for your bus back to the town centre. You will even have change for a shwarma sandwich." With tears in my eyes I accepted the money. It was painful being reduced to a beggar here in Jordan. "Well, thank you very much, sir! That is very kind of you! I said. "Think nothing of it, young man," said the gentleman in excellent English. And with that he continued on his way, to his home presumably. This was to be my first experience with one of the pillars of Islam: the giving of alms. Back down in the centre of town I found a hotel that would allow me to sleep on a mattress on the roof for half a dinar a night, which was about two dollars at the time. Exhausted from my sojourn around Amman trying to find a cheap place to stay, I collapsed onto the mattress and gazed up at the cloudless sky sparkling with a million stars. Though I had intended to go out that evening, I fell asleep on that mattress, only to awake feeling cold late in the night. I pulled my trusty sleeping bag out of my pack, climbed inside it, and once again fell sound asleep.

Known in Biblical times as Rabbath Ammon and Philadelphia (City of Brotherly Love), Amman, the capital of Jordan, is built on seven hills like Rome. There are many things to do, including walking around the market, visiting the museum, or going to Kerak, south along the Kings Highway. High on a plateau, 3400 feet above sea level, is the ancient fortress town of Kerak. While the ancient ruins date back more than 2,000 years, the fortress that stands today is an old Crusader castle known as the rock of the desert. Things were going much better for me the next morning. I was able to cash some travellers cheques at the bank, and after paying my hotel bill for the night before, I headed for the Jordanian Ministry of the Interior to apply for permission to go to the West Bank of Jordan, essentially Israeli-occupied territory. It would take several days to process my application, they said, so I decided to hitchhike south out of Amman, and search for the lost cities of ancient Samaria. Jordan has one of the most awesome archaeological sites in the world, the ancient caravan city of Petra, built during the first millennium BC. to protect the caravan routes from Mecca to Damascus. Petra is cut into solid red sandstone cliffs in a remote canyon in southern Jordan. This remote and little-known canyon was my main destination while in Jordan. I decided that I would leave for Petra early the next morning, but had the afternoon to kill in Amman. After a brief visit to the museum, I caught an unusual film entitled The Message.

The Message is a film about Mohammed and the beginnings of the Muslim religion. Paid for by the now deceased Shah of Iran, it was a multi-million dollar production about the life of Mohammed, filmed in English, largely meant to educate the ignorant masses in Western Society about the whys, and hows of Islamic religion, and to give Westerners at least a small glimpse of Muslim thought, history and religion. It was a good idea, I thought, as I bought my ticket, though it seemed this film was going to be mainly viewed by Muslims themselves. One of the problems in the filming of the movies is the Muslim admonition that icons of prophets, gods, angels, deities never be shown, including any representation of Mohammed himself. When it was first announced that a film was going to be made about the life of Mohammed, this sparked widespread riots throughout the Middle East, because it was expected that any film about Mohammed would naturally have him in it. The film was able to get away from this paradox by filming the movie in such a way as if the action was being seen from the eyes of Mohammed. Therefore, the camera was Mohammed, and actors such as Anthony Quinn, one of Mohammed's friends in the film, would walk up to the camera, stare at the audience, and address Mohammed, who was never seen in the movie. It was a fascinating film, full of desert battles and interesting bits of historical tidbits from the 7th century.

Source: Lost Cities & Ancient Mysteries of Africa & Arabia Premium

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