-From “Manual of Muad’Dib” by the Princess Irulan (Frank Herbert’s Dune)
That quote doesn’t have anything to do with this, but yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day. The day when everyone celebrates their great uncle who married a red headed lady. Happy Ireland day.
In Amman, the celebrations for this non-holiday were unexpected and amazing. Three noteworthy events filled my evening.
1) Kazamada at the Grand Hyatt
So I finally found some rock and roll in Jordan, and it was just about right. Apart from the canned drumming restricting the band from ripping any bitchin’ oud solos and the lead guitarist’s reliance on simple power chords (He is apparently the best in the Middle East). They had some cool songs full of nice melodies and other junk. It was a three piece set up with an oud player, the lead guitarist and some Egyptian chick who was belting out the traditional arab tunes. The venue was all right. It was in this hotel down the street from my apartment. Everyone sat to watch and most of the crowd was formally dressed.
Where does one celebrate the Irish in all of us in Jordan? The American Embassy, of course. Two security checks, a full body pat down, and a 5 dinar cover charge gets you into the embassy/club for an evening of your usual dance club activities. With the cover charge patrons are awarded a token, redeemable for one green jell-o shot. How bizarre is that. I say very bizarre.
It was a pretty cool spot. I am proud that our fine young men in uniform can throw a swingin’ shindig like that here in the desert with taxpayer money. Uh oh, Politics!
3) “I am caucasian, you are not caucasian”
While waiting for a taxi a group of well-dressed, fine looking you gentlemen offered myself and a couple of my colleagues a ride. At 2 in the morning in a strange part of town, what choice did we have but to accept this extremely creepy offer. It turned out to be a great decision. The guys invited us back to their apartment for some drinks and discussion and we obliged. We quickly learned that they were super-nationalist Circassians, and also that they have great taste in American music (Ivanich graced us with a chilling performance of “Blowin’ in the Wind”. There is nothing quite like hearing a song like that performed with a completely different, but equally applicable, set of ideals behind it. Swap in the Circassian flag for Old Glory and BAM, you’ve got yourself one heckuva anti-Russian protest song).