Jordan – my first 24 hours

My flight from Istanbul arrived in Amman at 11:55pm. I talked politics with the taxi driver taking me to my hotel. He said he was a Palestinian and Palestine should be for the Palestinians. I countered that the Jews and Palestinians needed to learn to live together with equal rights for all. I said if the Indians and cowboys could live peaceably in the American west, then they could do it too. Somehow he asked me my age and was aghast that I was older than his mother. He became deferential to my political views at that point.

In the morning, after finally managing to cross the street, I went to the Housing Bank (a bank chain there) to change my dollars to Jordan Dinars. The other customers were very polite and made sure I was in the right line with the right ticket. The teller would only take $100 bills and recorded that I had obtained them from a bank in the USA. Task completed! (I don’t think I have ever been in a foreign bank where the other customers were that courteous.)

I took a taxi hoping to get to the Jordan Museum but the driver didn’t seem to know where it was located even though I had the address written in the Arabic by the hotel clerk. The driver left me by the city hall and encouraged me to go on. After walking about, I found an information booth in a public building and eventually found my way to the museum.

At the Jordan Museum, samples of lime sculpture from approximately 7500-7700 BC were on display. One was a two-headed person. Bitumen, likely from the Dead Sea, was used to paint the eyes. At the nearby Jordan Fine Arts Gallery, there was a picture of a headless man with one leg missing below the knee and he was standing next to a tall boot with a live head atop of the lower leg sticking out of the boot. Two good finds.

Back on the streets, I walked and admired the city built into the hills. I felt sure I would find a city center but did not. Finally, a restaurant came into sight. I asked a woman about this restaurant and she invited me to share her taxi to get to the area of her recommended lunch spot! Lunch was great but I forgot my sunglasses in the taxi. Finding another pair was a task in and of itself.

Back at the hotel with new sunglasses, I went to the fitness center to use the pool. I joined the local women in an aqua-aerobics class. The leader barked instructions in English with a Russian accent. I was the only one without a bathing cap and felt relieved that I was allowed to stay. (I noted that the pool was open to men on some days and women on other days.)

The hotel lobby offered complimentary copies of the Jordan Times (in English). In the news, a brother was in custody pending investigation of his sister’s murder after he admitted to shooting her 4 times because he had been informed she was using a cell phone that the family didn’t know about.

After reading the Jordan Times, I headed out for supper. Leaving from the backside of the hotel, I soon found myself on a street full of retail stores, I found a sports shop and purchased a bathing cap for only three dinars, just in case other pools didn’t prove so gracious.

At a local bakery-restaurant, I over-ordered for supper. The huge Arabian shwarma (sandwich) came with a pile of fried potatoes and then the green salad came; either could have my full meal. It was there I had my first of the local frothy green minty drinks with lemon.

I found my way back to my hotel and felt good I had come to Jordan. And that was just my first 24 hours!

Amman, a city on a hill

7500-7700 BC

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