Arbiter Bibendi, Urban Effendi

“And he was finding that he had a man’s thirst, to the raucous delight of the youths around him, who urged him on every time he drained a glass. They were fine company, and Jon relished the stories they were telling, tales of battle and bedding and the hunt. He was certain that his companions were more entertaining than the king’s offspring.”

-George RR Martin A Game of Thrones

As a strange in a strange land I have taken on a lifestyle and select rituals that had been stirring in me unpracticed and unannounced.  While I was merely an American student in America there was always a slight twinge of guilt for having left so many proverbial bottles fully corked. Jordan is my corkscrew. This manifests itself both figuratively in that I act as the person I have been changing into without the bonds of old relationships incentivizing me to stay the same, and literally in that I have begun almost exclusively drinking white wine.

I believe in the study abroad experience, especially if the destination is in the Middle East.  Take a bunch of constantly changing young people who are struggling to find their identity and throw them into an alien culture to challenge the foundation of their beliefs.  I know I have had to give serious thought to some of my long-term life goals to see if they are consistent and righteous considering the person I think I am.  Its not even all self-indulgent mumbo-jumbo either, amongst my peers are the leaders of tomorrow.  Wouldn’t we all be a little more comfortable if Sarah Palin spent some time in a house from which she actually could have seen Russia? I think this is best summed up by saying simply: I have only three weeks left with CIEE Amman Language & Culture and I am feeling sentimental.

As for WW II (white wine intensive ideas*), I would like to prove once more my dedication to supporting local Jordanian small businesses.  I am fighting unemployment and the Islamic Brotherhood 13.5 millileters at a time.  I am speaking, of course, about the Stoli Liquor Store located conveniently on the third circle right next to the Bellevue Hotel.  My dear friend Mohammed (he is neither my friend nor am I sure his name is Mohammed) greets me with a knowing smile and nod most Wednesday’s.

“St. George’s?” -him

“St. George’s.”  -me

Though in my most recent interactions with dearest Mo he has become ever more concerned with prying every last piaster from my gullible, cowardly hands. You see, every bottle I buy has cost slightly more than the last.  The jumps in price range from 5 to 50 kirsh, and their inconsistency only fuels my confusion.  In this subtle game of  ultra- micro-supply/demand his major weapons are my lack of Arabic ability, his smile, and his knowledge of the previous two and their effect on my psyche.  Mohammed is a master trader. I have no doubt that by the end of my stay in Amman that I will be beaming and blushing while I pass him 20 dinar notes.


Paul Terrence

*I hope that acronym is not taken

Published in: on April 27, 2011 at 4:49 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. i tip my hat to you for this excellent post, mr. karolyi.

  2. Two things:
    1. Why did your RSS go all funny in Google reader?
    2. “WWII” begs for a joke about getting bombed, but I can’t figure it out. Maybe you can?

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