After my family left Morocco and I’d sufficiently recovered from New Year’s Eve food poisoning (thanks, Marrakesh!), I boarded a Qatar Airways flight to Amman. A long two-part flight, in which a nice Kuwaiti man offered me ketchup-flavored Lays chips and sprayed my hands with Armani perfume, followed, and I arrived in the Levant just as the second part of George R.R. Martin’s Feast for Crows audiobook was ending (don’t worry, Cersei eventually gets what she deserves).
After reuniting with my close American friend C., we entered what was to be one of many incense taxis, and were at our couch surfing host’s place within two hours.
You know how couch surfing seems like a wonderful idea until you tell people not “in the community” what you’re doing?
“Is it… safe?”
“What if the place doesn’t exist?”
“You will get shot. You will get shot. You know what shooting feels like? … Don’t come to me when you’re DEAD.”
Well, guess what, amalgam-of-various-people-I-met-a-few-times: it was FINE, as it has been other times I’ve couch surfed (though Bad Boy Roy was a bit of an adventure). A. was exceptional: his infectious, high pitched laugh, manga drawing skills, insane generosity and habit of tying his koufia around his face more than made up for the lack of hot running water and central heating in his spacious apartment. Plus, he adopted a kitten C. and I found in the snow. So.
Well, it turns out we arrived right before a large snowstorm s*** on Amman … and I left right as its droppings were melting. We therefore soon settled into an Amman-grounded routine of boiling water for showers, figuring out how to fall asleep despite a very cold bedroom, and visiting Indoor Café, a wonderful place with internet and real doughnuts (!), right next to the University of Jordan.
On the first full day in the capital, C. and I visited the souq.
Unlike in Morocco, this marketplace wasn’t walled in. Young men hawked koufias and space heaters along the street, while booksellers and bakers patiently waited for customers to seek them out. Beautifully made up women in hijabs (I swear, as a group, Jordanian women pull this off best) and niqabs strode purposefully among men who’d alternatively wrapped white and red koufias around their necks, heads and faces.
Relieved to find that we were not in danger of being run over by donkeys, I wandered to cardamom coffee and man’oush (cheese/Zaataar bread) stands at an annoyingly relaxed pace (pictures of food will be featured as soon as they’ve arrived from Jordan).
Then, accompanied by a singing gas delivery service truck, we walked up to a fortress and found some wonderful street art. I swear, even dead leaves were arranged artfully up here.
Eventually, we made it to the amphitheater. No, there weren’t any amateur reenactments of gladiator fights – why would you even think that?
After the second part of Grand Theft Rabbit, I’ll show you guys more of that wondrous place.
In the meantime… has anyone else had Fleet Foxes’ “Icicle Tusk” stuck in their head? Just seems to match the weather and our lovely dueling culture so perfectly.