Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Amman's gotta do what Amman's gotta do

So starting from where I left off last night, I got back to my hotel, and sat down to dinner, which they had provided (for 5 JD). For those who have been wondering, I have been eating meat here. Mostly it's a When-In-Rome kind of approach, but also my other major reasons for meat minimalism in general are somewhat moot: I don't know that there's much factory farming that happens here, so you avoid the double-whammy of huge environmental impacts and questionable ethics.

Over dinner, I chatted with another person in the hotel, a teacher from Michigan originally, but who now works in Botswana! After dinner, she decided that she'd like to try some Jordanian beer, and I decided I would too, so we went to a nearby liquor store and picked up two cans of Petra Beer (the 8% abv isn't too bad... sortof lager-y, but the 10% really isn't worth it) and a flask of عرق- "Arak", which is basically Arab Ouzo. I haven't really had Ouzo, so I don't know how different it is. Over our alcoholic beverages, we pulled out our respective iPods and swapped music. And then she named me in Setswana (the language in Botswana): I am now, in addition to Peter, Pedro, Boutros, and PeaCombs, "Malebogo" which means "thank you".

Alisha (for that is her name) went to Petra today, while I mainly took it slow and explored eastern Amman, which is called "downtown". Again, not hugely high-density anything. I went and saw some of the old Roman ruins--a public fountain and amphitheatre--then went and saw the Byzantine and Ummayid Citadel on the hill above the city. The highlight of that, I think, was the Archealogical museum they have up there, which covers the history of jordan from roughly the Neolithic up until the Ummayids. In addition to some more artifacts from Petra and the Nabateans, they had pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls on exhibition.

After that, I came down the hill and had originally planned on walking much of the length of the city, but then I realized that it was actually pretty big, so I turned back, although I did get to explore a busy market area.

I went back to the hotel, and decided to sit down for a bit before checking out Darat al-Funuun--"The Little House of the Arts", where I was told that our hotel has a rooftop to sit on. Upon going up, I noticed laundry lines, so I washed my other clothes (which hadn't happened in just a bit too long) in my sink, and hung them out to dry. Then, I went to the Arts House, which is right near the hotel, athough my attempts to locate it yesterday were not successful. And it's too bad that they were unsuccessful, because I get there to discover that at the moment they're between exhibitions, and the last one closed... yesterday! Oh well. I did enjoy a nice cup of tea in their garden. Then I walked around in the neighborhood, which was quite nice. I think, when I become fabulously wealthy, that's one place I'll buy a house. It was mostly quiet villas (and the odd Embassy) built into the hillside, with lots of foliage and occaisional bursts of wild mustard and thistle.

I go back to my hotel, then go out to get dinner. I have a large helping of amazing hummous, some falafel balls, a large piece of pita bread*, and a glass of tea. I think it was probably better than last night's Magloubeh (Chicken and rice and vegetables, basically), so I was expecting to pay about the same. Nope. 1 JD. You can bet they'll have my business in the future. For the next couple days, at any rate.

All right, my hour is almost up (and I just installed skype, too!). Tomorrow: The Dead Sea!

*Not quite how I make it. It ends up being thicker than what I make, and wider at the same time. Also, I think it's with white flour. I haven't seen how they make it, though, but the coloring is solid tan on one side, and speckled tan on the other.

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