April 12, 2008

Amman, Jordan

I think I pre-judged Amman by the number of sights to see (two – maybe three) rather than the things to do (infinite when in good company). Turns out this little capital city of Jordan is just the perfect pace for travelers weening off all the rugged beauty the country has to offer. I arrived a few hours before sunset after a three hour “I’m the only woman on the bus” ride from Wadi Mousa. I am actually getting quite used to this scenario, and while it has never felt threatening, in fact, quite the opposite with everyone offering help, it still takes a minute to get used to the glaring segregation. Since I arrived in the Middle East, women have been largely out of view, even in metropolis areas. For instance, in Egypt, it is the men who run the entire hotel, from reception to cooking to room cleaning. It has taken me some time to balance what is accepted from western tourists and what is out of the boundary culturally. I am not offering an opinion on this, just an observation.
As traveling goes, I happened to run into two friends from earlier, Jeff (from Korea) and Ash, an rather intrepid English bloke who is riding from Kathmandu back home by motorbike (backwards). After trying to celebrate our reunion by unsuccessfully bar hopping in a Muslim majority city with a woman in tow, we ended up, after quite a bit of sign language with the taxi driver, at a Christian liquor store (praise the Lord) where we proceeded to throw a salsa party on the rooftop of my hotel (with the manager pictured above) drinking local Jordanian red wine.
Nursing our hangovers, Ash and I spent a great day in Amman, soaking up the culture (and some extra needed vitamins) and walking the streets shopping in the colorful markets, buying fabrics and oils - until the idea was hatched to take a motorbike ride through the city and shoot pictures from the back. We set out with no other plan than to find the Star Wars-like Abdoun Bridge, which we had rode over the night before and which I fell instantly in love. And so while the other tourists were catching up on another Citadel, Ash and I drank beers at the base of this architectural pleasure at sunset, waiting for the saber lightshow that first drew me in to appear. Riding over this bridge at night on the back of a bike – well, all I can say is -what an experience! 

1 comment:

sand said...

WOW, THat first photo of Amman brought streaming memories. Loved seeing the city via you eyes. That "woman" thing is a little bummer, NO? i remember walking along the steet, seriously covered in big ankle length skirt and long sleeves, most men being respectful and kind, manifesting such civility and warmth. Then i passed a group of jerks, sneers on their faces and threats in their eyes. Sent a shiver up my spine.

glad you found religion on the rooftop. Here's to christian liquor stores. And hail hail to Salsa! Rock on rock of ages.

xoxox sand


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