“To-day the mirage blotted its limits for us with blurs of steely blue, which were the tamarisk bounds raised high in the air and smoothed by heat vapour.”
Thailand for spring break. Just a thought.
Like Rome, Amman was originally a city of seven hills. Seven has become 24. Always a center of trade and commerce, Amman is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. Throughout most of its history, this place was a stop on the journey to Mecca or to the large oasis-centric communities of the Levant. Now it has become a financial center for the region due to Jordan’s reputation for consistent and reliable regulation. The Jordanians like to see themselves as a bastion of peace. They earn the right to feel this way by spending on the disarmingly charming police force and the less charming mukhaberraat (CIA equivalent, watch “Body of Lies”). Like the law enforcement institutions, some other signifiers of dictatorial oppression exist, but to label Abdullah’s regime this way would be a tragic misunderstanding.
I think Agrabah might have been intended to be Persian. You’ll have to forgive me for some inaccuracies. This brings up another point: when is there going to be an Arab Disney princess?
So the guard of our apartment complex has become a source of anxiety. I feel guilty talking about him, but this is a relevant cultural issue. Communication is difficult here, technology has not insinuated itself into people’s lives as wholly as it has stateside. As such, it is not uncommon for friends to drop by unannounced for a chat and a smoke. In sacrificing the homestay experience, the only other option is to actively seek interaction with locals via other outlets. Mohammed, our noble guard, has become the default source for this type of conversation. He is a fine man with a puerile sense of humor. A proud, politically ambivalent* Egyptian whose only concern is his impending nuptials. They are planned for Alexandria, but obviously plans may have to change.
Anyways, he hangs out with us a lot, often without notice. Late night visits for shisha and some Facebook time on various laptops are common and unsolicited. I’m sure our story with Mohammed is not over as I am not the only one who is becoming uncomfortable.
Just another turn of the wheel.
*I hope to interview him on video at some point on the topic, perhaps it will be available in a future post