Saying Goodbye (for now) to Amman

Ok . . .Funny thing happened – this last post from Jordan got lost in the ether somewhere. Actually I was rushing to get it done and finish packing and hit “save” instead of “publish.” Ooops. Well here it is. You may also notice my Paris entry is gone. I’m re-working that one, into something a little more reader-friendly. Will post more on Paris and my final thoughts on Jordan in the next few days.

Well, my week in Amman has drawn to a close. 3 out of 4 of us are registered for various schools and we have two solid leads on apartments!

Here are a few random things to close out the week

  • I was mistaken 11 times as an Arab, 4 times as a Spaniard, 3 times as a Brit and once as French. And probably pegged quite quickly as American most of the rest of the times.
  • Jordan is a very hospitable country – I felt safe and welcome all week. When people found out I was American they were curious in very positive ways.
  • Out of dozens of cab rides I only had 1 bad one. The guy was screaming into his cell phone and my window wouldn’t go down (they don’t believe in AC for cars). I was sweating profusely and wishing I knew Arabic.
  • Jordanians are not all Palestinian. Those whose families have always lived on this side of the river very proudly identify themselves as Hashemites and distiguish themselves from Palestinians or Iraqis or other immigrants. (You may have seen it called the “Hashemite” Kingdom of Jordan. The Hashemites are a tribe that trace their lineage back to Muhammad).
  • Along those lines I did meet many people with Palestinian roots – they were always quite surprised to meet a foreigner (and American) who could talk with them about their homeland.
  • Clothing runs the gamut. I saw local men dressed in shorts and t-shirts, khakis and polos, business suits, traditional garb (long robes with khafiyehs) – but my favorite were the older men wearing long robes, a sports coat and a red checked-khafiyeh. Wish I had enough nerve to take a picture
  • Women’s clothing (for locals) also ran the gamut. From jeans and t-shirts tighter than you might see in the states, to jeans and long tunic type shirts, to conservative dresses, to fully covered from head to toe in black. Of course there are various stages of head covering too.
  • Christian churches play music and services over loudspeakers on Sunday AM, just like Mosques broadcast the call to prayer daily.
  • Oh – I did have one other taxi incident on a roundabout – but it wasn’t the drivers fault. I was almost T-boned. And I’m not talking about a steak.
  • Reem cafeteria still serves the best shawerma in the city. Contrary to the guidebooks they are not open 24 hours. They close when the giant spit of shawerma is gone. I got the last 2 shawermas the other night at 2:30 AM, much to another guy’s chagrin.
  • Hashem’s serves the best falafil and hummous in town – but I am still trying to figure out it’s system. It’s literally in an alley marked only in Arabic – there is no menu, and no one is willing to speak English. But each time I’ve gone I feel like I’ve figured out another piece of the puzzle. And each time I eat my fill and walk away paying around 1JD. Can’t beat it. A fun game is to sit on the balcony at the Auberge Cafe (sorry – men only) and watch confused (mostly older) tourists walk in the alley with guidebooks, look around, try to talk to someone and then walk away.
  • OK – I could probably go on, but have to finish packing. The Jordanian people are very warm-hearted and its been a joy being here. Having some good ex-pat friends (both old and new) to provide some assistance and advice here and there was a plus too. I can’t wait to be home and see my family – but I leave a piece of my heart in this city as well, and hope to return soon.
  • Here are a few last pics. Enjoy!

PS – We got word today that the Ministry of Education approved our son’s entry into KG (see previous post). This is very good news!

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