Apologies, loyal readers, for my brief period of inactivity. If I am not regular with posts, I am nothing (not true). It has been a very busy week. A short recap.
1) My taxi got in a small wreck last thursday. Everyone survived.
2) I am dropping my internship-for-credit class. No one needs to listen to what is “different” or “normal” about peers’ internship experiences. There are as many types of work environments as their are work environments. This borderline racist premise only compounded on the excruciating boredom. The internship itself is excellent. I like the people and there is plenty of work to do. Im even learning. For example, I learned that relics of Italian occupation still remain in Libya in the form of exclusive non-competitive government contracts for Italian firms.
Having said all that, it is a little different that my office’s hierarchy happens to also be represented by the race’s of the workers. American interns, Arab professionals, Asian cleaning lady.
3) Turkish bathing is a worthwhile experience. Picture an eight person jacuzzi, then picture eleven fully unibrow-ed and back-haired Jordanians, then picture me in the mix. Keep in mind that I paid heftily for the privilege, also that I regret absolutely nothing.
Order of events: shower, jacuzzi, wet sauna (with pomegranate smoothies!), shower, scrub down, jacuzzi, massage, dry sauna, shower.
4) Aqaba. This is a special economic zone in Jordan. That means that Americans pay familiar prices for booze in familiar resorts on the beach, all while staring directly into Israel. A little Orhan Pamuk on the beach with a pina colada after a 7am breakfast and brisk swim in the Red Sea. This was a very enjoyable 24 hours.
5) The titular desert castles. Eastern Jordan is a barren desert of negative space pierced only by towns that I have enjoyed describing in terms of which Sergio Leone would be proud. I want to make the world’s first Hummus Western (just like The Good, The Bad, The Weird adapted the format for East Asia and the strife that arose over the Mongolian border disputes). I would create a story of revenge (what else? its a western) during mandate period when this country was known as Trans-Jordan and people were starting to get worried about the increasing numbers of Jewish immigrants. Maybe Danger Mouse could score it. Tell me you don’t watch that movie.
Anyway the desert castles themselves were anticlimactic. In a place where people have lived since people started living, there seems to be no interest in preserving a stack of rocks the Ummayyids happened to chat near. No money was spent on the tourist experience, and it showed. There wasn’t as much history to think about as I would have liked, but pondering the economics of American tourism to the Middle East is a rich vein of untapped ore. Seeing Aqaba and these castles (and knowing how many partial-Jews take advantage of birthright), I know there is potential here. If only to see where that super famous director shot that groundbreaking classic… cough… me… cough….
There are no copyright laws in Jordan. Pirated DVDs are popular, and so is Dunkin Donuts. At least The Donut Factory is, it is an unlicensed, direct knock-off.
I saw all four borders of this country in 36 hours (small stretch of the truth). Still, suck it, Lichtensteiners.
Arch “Abdullah” Stanton