Saturday, September 06, 2008

Just arrived...

I haven't been this sweaty in a loooong time. For one, Amman is a mountaineer's paradise-a city constructed on precipitiously steep hills that appear to grow taller the more you climb. Or maybe it's just jet lag/dyhydration/starvation setting in. My flight was smooth, if overlong, full of screaming children and security specialists bound for Iraq. My seatmate, in fact, works in diplomatic security, and managed to entertain me with several 'fascinating' tales of his tours in Afganistan and Iraq. Backpedaling a bit, my flight from MSP to Chicago was lavishly peppered with Repulican convention-goers leaving the Cities, sporting white cowboy hats, McCain Palin billboards, flashing elephants, and all sorts of other paraphanalia. I have never heard so many Texan accents (outside of Texas) in my life! Aunt Mary, you would have loved it :)

So, Amman...For those of my loyal blog readers who've already read my garrulous accounts of the previous Jordan trip, I'll try not to be redundant. First impressions-Amman is ALOT smaller than Cairo, which I think is a good thing. Absent is the persistent haze of smog that choked Cairo. Instead, steep hills (have I mentioned them yet), rocky cliffs, and sand dunes form the base of the city. Constructed on top of them are buildings, almost all built of a white sandstone-like material that, I suspect, doesn't absorb heat. Ahhh, yes, the heat. Though Jordan is farther north than Cairo, it doesn't seem to be much cooler-at 5 pm, it was 97 F. Hence the dripping faucet that is making the keyboard all sticky...

Anyway, all of my luggage arrived-alhamduliliah!, I took a cab to my hotel, enjoyed the semi-creepy flirtations of the cab driver, and attempted to understand Jordanian. The colloquial here is quite different than the colloquial I learned in Egypt, and most people give me blank stares if I ask them questions in it, or at least chuckle at my strange pronuncation/vocabulary. Anyway, as some of you may have noticed (kinda hard to miss in a Muslim country), Ramadan has begun. I arrived in a ghost city, the streets full of speeding cars racing home to eat the iftaar, or sundown breaking of the fast. Unfortunately, that also means all of the stores are closed, so I had to march quite a ways to find a Diet Coke. My hotel (on the cheap side) appears to be in a very nice neighborhood of houses...not restaurants. I wandered/hiked for about an hour, questing for a simple restaurant, but, alas, I have been unsuccessful. I fear I will have to have a dinner of Coca Zero and some granola, shower off the patina of sweat, and fall into bed. My future roommate, Jess, arrives tomorrow, and then we commence the apartment search. Should be an interesting week. Oh, yeah, and I also have to register for classes, and find an ATM!

Until next time,