I’m Back…in Jordan
Didya know I was actually having doubts about returning to Jordan?
California was SO luxurious. Perfect weather, surreal fairytale towns. Really really. SURREAL. Colors overly vivid. Cute little plants everywhere. And the food…the food…the food. I ate bacon almost every day, as well as oodles of French toast and banana splits. And pie. And americanos. I can get americanos here, actually. But they don’t have half n half.
But then, time to come back. I go to the airport and check in. The Delta lady asked me for proof of a return flight. Apparently this is a Jordanian requirement due to concern that people might come here and then not leave (crazy). I’ve known so many people wandering the earth with no ticket home, it hadn’t really crossed my mind. They didn’t check for a ticket before. Seeds of doubt - I started thinking about how how I would explain the six months I'd already been in Jordan and my return after a brief five weeks away. After having me wait so she could check on it, the Delta lady came back and said she’d check me through but I’d better be prepared to buy a ticket once I got there. Those seeds of doubt sprout. Then I got onto an intensely packed plane for my first leg – SF to NYC. The man beside me had breath that could kill tigers. And he kept leaning near me to look out the window. Sprouts of doubt begin to grow leaves. So, being the not-so-intrepid a traveler as I like to think I am, while on layover in NYC, I book a one way (refundable) flight from Jordan back to New York just in case.
Then, from NY to Amman, I board a half empty plane - I guess tourism in the Middle East dies down toward winter. I stretch out on the row I have to myself (my favorite part is that I can leave my garbage on the other drop-down tray). Little doubt-plant begins to wither. The captain actually introduces himself to the passengers...in such a way as to leave this sense that we all know each other. Clearly he’s taken a cue on hospitality from the Arabs. Then the cabin staff offered bottomless drinks and snacks. Of course these are always available on flights if you go back to the galley, but they don’t announce that. I’d flown for years before I realized you could go back and help yourself. Then, to top it off…they had Pepperidge Farm cookies! Little doubt-plant dead.
So, after a relatively pleasant twelve hour flight, with at least one good in-flight movie (The Visitor), we approach. By the way, all of Israel is restricted airspace so all passengers and crew are required to be seated and buckled while crossing over. Good thing it’s a skinny country. Hate to get shot ‘cause ya had to pee. Of course Amman, Jordan is just over the border (as the crow flies). As we descend, and I look down on the rolling barren hills and cinderblock buildings, I feel…nostalgic. I don’t know why. But we land, I go buy my visa (10JD), they stamp my passport. The next guy checks it like he’s checking a movie ticket, and I’m through to baggage pick-up. The only additional measure is that, in Jordan, bags are also screened on the way out of the airport. I can’t believe I doubted that I could get back in. Now I can cancel that flight before it even turns up on my credit card bill.
My friend Akram met me at the airport. I’m staying with him and his wife, Bianca. She recently arrived from the US and they’ve just moved into a new apartment. I saved the Pepperidge Farm cookies for her ‘cause I know what it’s like to start craving non-ME food after a few months over here. So, I’m just tickled to be back.
Wait...check this out. This is cool:
I'm the type of geek who gets a kick out of closing my eyes and randomly picking a word out of the dictionary then seeing if I know the definition or can otherwise correctly make an educated guess (i.e.; I get off on checking how smart I am).
SO, on this site you can be quizzed on vocab, grammar, italian, math, geography, art, etc. When you get stuff right, rice is donated to hungry folk. Pretty cool. I'm diggin the vocab and the Italian at the moment.