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Melantrys’ Page » Blog Archive » Trip to Amman - pt. 1

Trip to Amman - pt. 1


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Note to readers: I used to keep public travel and festival diaries (you know, on paper and all) for myself and family and friends and whatnot, so this might’ve turned out to be a cross between that and a real blog post.
I sure know that I am writing a lot and that it takes me way too much time.
Hope you will enjoy it anyway. :)
So here’s the first three days:

.

Sunday, August 13th

Got up way too early for a Sunday. But what with the terrorist scare of only a few days previously we thought it might be best for me to be at Düsseldorf airport around 11ish. So we had decided to leave around 9ish. “We” being my sister, her husband and me.

The trip to the airport was scary. Their car had been having some problems which - supposedly - had been fixed. They hadn’t. The motor occasionally cut itself some slack and slowed down. Still, we got there.

I checked in my luggage, and after a round of hugging, good-byes and the transference of several cat hairs I walked off to the gate and passed the check in front of it in approximately five minutes. Right. So much for the accuracy of information on the news….

Fortunately I had come armed with a thick book, my discman and a ton of mp3’s, so I had no trouble passing the time. I also chatted with some Iranian dude who was on his way to Turkey (with a 20 or 30 minute transfer at Schiphol, brave man…) and with a woman travelling with her baby to either GB or the US who was unhappy about having had to taste all the baby food stuff she was bringing on board the plane.

In the end the plane was almost an hour late which did not make the Iranian guy very happy, as you can probably imagine.
And what a plane it was! I knew that I’d be flying a Fokker 50 from Germany to Holland and back, but I had had no idea what kind of plane that would be. Yeah, sue me, all you plane fans out there. ;) For those of you who don’t know everything there is to know about plane types…: It is fairly small (about 20 seat rows or so, with two seats on each side of the middle aisle) and has propellers.
The take-off was less smooth than on board a bigger plane and had me battling dizziness. (Thank you anonymous Turkish fellow low-blood-pressured dude on my first flight ever aaaages ago for the seemingly senseless tip about how to deal with this problem!)
As there was no real meal on the short flight, there hadn’t been a meal request option available, but everyone got a drink of orange juice and a filled cookie, which I pocketed.

Well, for me the delay had the nice effect of shortening my long stay in Amsterdam. Still, I had enough time to buy drinks and a 5-pack of Smelly Jelly (© aNarki-13 on August 27th; actually it’s Snelle Jelle), which is a “gezond lekkere kruidkoek, van nature vetarm”. Dutch - you just gotta love it.

Despite my reservations after having seen the bigger KLM planes from the bus that took us from the Fokker to the gate (it says “The Flying Dutchman” on them….) I continued my journey to Amman.

By then I was having real second thoughts about my trip. Not for any of the funky reasons my colleagues and neighbours came up with, but for the simple reason that I am more shy in real life than you could gather from this blog here, and having arranged to meet all those “strange” people was starting to freak me out some.

Anyway, I bravely boarded one of the Flying Dutchman’s planes and settled down for the 4.5 hour flight.
Spent most of the time reading and listening to my discman again. Dinner was some chicken curry thing for the regular passengers. Smelled nice.


boarding pass

Me, I had a cup of water (ick…), cous-cous, a slice of Snelle Jelle (lmao) and a fruit salad.

Some time before midnight we started circling Amman, going deeper with each turn. Now this will probably sound totally corny and dumb, but Amman looks grand from above at night. As if someone has taken a handful of jewels and scattered them across a couple of hills.

At around 0:05 local time I arrived at Queen Alia airport (Amman), powdered my nose, claimed my luggage, cashed a traveller cheque at the bank counter there and went through customs, where the very nice young man chatted some with me and wished me a nice holiday.

Then I went out into the hall and pretty soon espied the famed aNarki-13 and his cousin.

And what a cousin she is! During the longish ride into town she kept firing questions at me:
- How come you picked Jordan for your holiday?
- What made you become a vegetarian?
- What do you do for a living?
- Are you involved? Do you have a boy-friend?
And on and on.

Among the few sentences aNarki-13 was able to utter in between was the sad news that I wouldn’t be able to meet Morbid Smile after all, as she had gone back to Iraq already.

Don’t know at which time we arrived at the hotel.
Once they had checked me in, aNarki-13 and his cousin took off while Mr Mainly Night Duty took me and my luggage to my room.
So, this was Amman, and that had been aNarki-13.
Good night.

.

Monday, August, 14th

Woke up, had a cold shower, dressed, breakfasted on Smelly Jelly (© aNarki-13) and Dutch coke and took pictures of my room and of the view I had from my bedroom window.


“my” street

My apartment consisted of a bedroom, a living/eating-room, a kitchenette with a scary gas powered plate which I never dared use and a bathroom.

Around midday aNarki came and picked me up and showed me way too many places for me to get my bearings right away.
First we went to Grand supermarket to get some essentials like chips, drinks and toilet paper.
After dumping all that at my apartment I fed aNarki the filled Dutch cookie from the Fokker flight while we marched to Mecca Mall. The cookie had disintegrated some (sensitive, crumbly cookie…), but he said it tasted good.

We wandered around the Mall for a while, then aNarki contacted the Kid, who agreed to meet us there.
Soon the Kid got hungry so we sat down in the food court and had some drinks while watching the Kid eat.
Halfway through his burger he threw out the veggies and put in his fries. Fascinating.


food court playground and people


Iraqi burger

He merrily tucked in, which might have been a sign of him feeling better after having had a cold. On the other hand… maybe he’s just always hungry.
After having watched the Kid dining for about three hours (ok, that’s exaggerating things a bit, but it did take him some time) I was pretty hungry myself, so we strolled off to get a bite of falafel and hommus at a restaurant.
We being aNarki and me; the Kid took off in a taxi.

My memory is a bit hazy on what happened next, but I think we went to aNarki’s parents’ place. Yes?

In the evening aNarki took me to Wakalat Street, a street that’s closed for cars in the evenings, where just about anyone goes to stroll around and/or sit down at a café to watch the strollers and chase away the beggars/kids selling stuff.
One girl was rather cheeky and hit aNarki over the head with her bunch of plastic flowers when he sent her away. That seemed to be to his liking, as he told her he’d buy something off her next time.

When the novelty of counting the people who stared at my tattoo had worn off, aNarki asked the Kid to come join us.
I still go all tearful with recollection remembering the great effort the Kid went to in order to make me feel right at home. He kept claiming that aNarki and me’d be making a nice couple and similar crap that very much reminded me of the kind of talk I always get from my colleague A. whenever he hears of me visiting friends overnight…

All the while the young man was continuously smoking sheesha, which - in combination with his recent cold - led to him losing a lot of voice in the course of the evening. I wonder what they put into the sheesha anyway; he became decidedly merry.
On our way out of the street we did indeed run into the little flower seller again, so aNarki kept his word and - me being the only woman present I assume - gave the flower to me. (And, yes, I took it home of course.)


one of the famous combat flowers

The end of this long day aNarki and me spent at his parents’ place again, and if I am not mistaken, this was also the night on which his mother “force-fed” me after hearing that I hadn’t had any dinner yet. Seriously, I’d have demanded food if I had been hungry. :)

At 2:45am aNarki returned me to my hotel after almost 15 hours straight of playing my entertainer/travel guide. Respect and thanks, man!

.

Tuesday, August 15th

Not very surprisingly we both kind of overslept on Tuesday after that long day.

I confusedly ambled off in several directions, trying to remember where that bank was that aNarki had pointed out to me in passing the day before.
Eventually I reached the Arab Bank and took my place in the longish queue. When it was finally my turn I asked the lady at the counter what the exchange rate for traveller cheques made out in Euros was. “0.89,” she told me, but after I had handed her the cheques and my passport she disappeared into the office area and returned only after quite some time. “Is it ok if I call you [my first name]? [My first name], I am sorry, but we don’t accept these.” I was quite taken aback by that piece of news, as you can probably imagine. She suggested going to the Bank of Jordan. I dejectedly crawled back to my hotel to wait for my self-appointed travel guide.

On top of being sleepy aNarki must have caught a cold and was running around in a heavy sweater while I was melting in the midday heat…

He took me to an exchange office in the area, where the guy at the counter offered me 60 JD for a cheque over 100 Euros. It had not even crossed my mind to try and barter over the exchange rate but our reaction led to him bartering. All of a sudden he offered a (in comparison) staggering 75 JD for my cheque. Which was apparently as high as he was willing to go, for he did not raise his offer when I declined. “If you had Euros, not cheques, I could give you 90,” he said though. Deciding on the spot that the almost 30 Euros that’d leave me with should be all I’d be needing back in Europe (especially considering that I had a credit card now) I changed 100 Euros there so that I’d have some ready cash until we could cash my cheques at the other bank.

Then we zombied off to Mecca Mall, where we tried to revive our spirits with soft drinks (me) and tea (aNarki).
We also got turned away by a bank in the building and checked the exchange rate at the exchange office on the ground floor. At the airport I had gotten a rate of .88 minus a fee of 4JD, so their offered 82 JD for 100 Euros didn’t make me too happy.

On this memorable day aNarki helped himself to some of the food at the falafel place. Not so memorable, you say? A-ha! Little do you know, grasshopper.

For later he had arranged for a meeting with Treasure of Baghdad and 24 Steps to Liberty. At Wakalat Street again, but after meeting up with BT and 24 we went to sit at another place than the night before.


Walkabout Creek… er…


… Wakalat Street

(Note: the shoulders on the side(s) of the pictures belong to 24 and BT.)

I don’t know how obvious it was but - like with Attawie later, and for the same reason - meeting BT and 24 for the first time made me rather nervous, as I hadn’t had that much online contact with them in advance. But I think I did fairly well ;) and it sure was a nice evening. :)

I suppose it’s impossible to get together with BT and 24 without talking politics, which is fine by me. Talking politics, that is, not politics.
What else? The usual round of questions of course, like what made you come here and all. I really should have prepared some papers to hand out to people. :)
Oh, and I think BT said I was the first German he met.
After some prodding the Kid finally joined us as well.

Time passed way too quickly, and BT and 24 left us. The Kid, aNarki and me stayed for a while, then wandered out of Wakalat Street, being undecided whether to go home already or not.
The Kid suggested going to a night club, but had we known that there were no decent night clubs in the vicinity we wouldn’t have agreed. What a seedy little brothel that was, with some dude making music at an earsplitting noise level, Amstel beer with probably 0.5% of alcohol and not so sexy ladies coming to shake our hands. Brrr.

15 Responses to “Trip to Amman - pt. 1”

  1. David Says:

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    Wow, so much to comment about! Chapter One is a worthy successor to the Prologue. *speaks with sincerity*

    The Kid’s burger is still making me hungry! I used to love Burger King double Whoppers! I can taste that char-grilled deliciousness in my mind! :)
    You know, I have developed a great respect for Baghdad Treasure since I read his responses to an interview mentioned in a comment at Morbido’s blog. I may have to start reading his blog too! I think I may eventually die of reading too many blogs! ;)
    I wonder what is in sheesha too? I always thought it was tobacco, but maybe it is blended with other herbs. ;) Was the Kid smoking sheesha in something like cigarettes? I always heard it was smoked from a hooka.

    Damn, I’m looking at that double burger again. It looks really good, especially with the fries! I have eaten almost no beef for years. I may just have to break my beefless fast and drive myself to the nearest Burger King! I love Arby’s sliced roast beef sandwiches too! I must be hungry right now. :D
    Looking forward to Chapter Two! I’ll try not to be so hungry next time. ;)

  2. Konfused Kid Says:

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    that was fun…although I know it all but it was fun…probably becuase i was in it…..

    it’s a shame nothing happened between you and Adarki, but…well i tried my best….

  3. Melantrys Says:

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    David: So much to comment about and what you mainly do is to drool all over the Kid’s burger? Tch.

    Kiddo, well, let’s hope then you’ll like more than just the beginning of part 2. ;)
    Adarki? :P Dunno any Adarki, but this dude Anarki will probably disagree quite strongly with you about it being a shame (and a certain lady as well)….

  4. Lynnette in Minnesota Says:

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    I know I probably shouldn’t….but well I’m going to have to. Comment that is.

    I have never seen anyone put french fries on a hamburger before. The Kid is definately a unique and assuredly not a boring individual! :) Also rather elusive…hmmm.

    Anarki sounds like the classic gentleman. Tour guide, flowers, meeting the parents? Nice. Of course he’d better be considering his fiance. :)
    Okaaay, so what is Snelle Jelle?

    And politics? On vacation???? Ohhhhh now you disappoint me! :)
    Nice pictures too.

  5. Melantrys Says:

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    Well, guess why I had to take that picture. (And like aNarki says: The expression!!!!; but unfortunately I’m not gonna share the look on his face here.)

    Not boring, no, but elusive indeed.

    And, yeah, aNarki is indeed a classic gentleman.

    And I am feeling sick, now, lol.
    Frenzie: fast jelle
    Frenzie: jelle would be a name
    Frenzie: something Frisian probably
    Mel: I think Smelly Jelly does indeed sound more interesting then
    Frenzie: depends
    Frenzie: you could say he cums fast, for example
    Mel: urrrrr
    Mel: now I’m feeling sick
    Frenzie: Because you’re now envisioning a hot Frisian guy who can’t pleasure you? :P Mel: no, I’m thinking about me having eaten that Snelle Jelle stuff
    Frenzie: So yeah
    Frenzie: I bet Snelle Jelle includes his semen
    Frenzie: and that it can be created that way
    Frenzie: because he’s so fast with cumming

    I hope that it’s actually some kind of cake. Soft, brownish, very sugary. Possibly a very distant relative of gingerbread.

    Sorry to disappoint you then. :P

  6. David Says:

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    Hey, where’s the adult content warning?! I’m way too young for that Nasty Jelly talk!! :P
    Ok, you want more comments? Then I want to hear more about that brothel you all went to. Was that what you did with your special “night” on the town? ;)

  7. Melantrys Says:

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    Oooh, I forgot you are a minor! :P
    No, that special night was a week later or so, and you are the only one who’s been pushing the night’s importance out of proportion, lol.

    I said all there is to say about the brothel.

  8. Lynnette in Minnesota Says:

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    lol!

    I think I’m sorry I asked about Snelle Jelle! :)
    Anarki’s lady is lucky. A classic gentleman has this beat any day! :)
    A woman meets a man in a bar. They talk; they connect; they end up leaving together. They get back to his place, and as he shows her around his apartment, she notices that one wall of his bedroom is completely filled with soft, sweet, cuddly teddy bears.

    There are three shelves in the bedroom with hundreds and hundreds of cute, cuddly teddy bears, carefully placed in rows covering the entire wall! It was obvious that he had taken quite some time to lovingly arrange them and she was immediately touched by the amount of thought he had put into
    organizing the display.

    There were small bears all along the bottom shelf, medium-sized bears covering the length of the middle shelf, and huge, enormous bears running all the way along the top shelf.

    She found it strange for an obviously masculine guy to have such a large a collection of
    Teddy Bears, but doesn’t mention this to him, and actually is quite impressed by his sensitive side.

    They share a bottle of wine and continue talking and, after a while, she finds herself thinking, “Oh my God! Maybe, this guy could be the one! Maybe he could be the future father of my children?” She turns to him and kisses him lightly on the lips. He responds warmly. They continue
    to kiss, the passion builds, and he romantically lifts her in his arms and carries her into his bedroom where they rip off each other’s clothes and make hot, steamy love.

    She is so overwhelmed that she responds with more passion, more
    creativity, more heat than she has ever known. After an intense, explosive night of raw passion with this sensitive guy, they are lying there together in the afterglow. The woman rolls over, gently strokes his chest and asks
    coyly, “Well, how was it?”

    The guy gently smiles at her, strokes her cheek, looks deeply into her eyes,and says:

    “Help yourself to any prize from the middle shelf.”

  9. David Says:

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    Mel, please rescue me from having to look at that delicious burger with fries by writing the next chapter!! ;)

  10. David Says:

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    Mel, please rescue me from having to look at that delicious burger with fries by writing the next chapter!! ;)

  11. Melantrys Says:

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    My, you must be really desperate if you’re posting that comment twice…..

  12. David Says:

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    Well, I wasn’t quite that desperate. Blogger duplicated the comment, not me. :P Actually, you are lucky since Blogger has several times in the past made like 30 or more duplicates of a single comment of mine!

  13. David Says:

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    Wow! Those Jordanian money changers are as bad as American loan sharks, er, credit card companies!

  14. Lynnette in Minnesota Says:

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    What a pain!

    The last time I traveled out of the country (ages ago) I bought travelers checks in the currency of the country I was going to. It saved having to exchange money all the time. And you didn’t have to worry about the exchange rate changing all the time.

  15. Melantrys Says:

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    Well, the problem with that is that for almost every country I’d go to I’d get horrible exchange rates over here and good ones abroad.

    And as I spent a lot less money than I thought I would I’m pretty happy the cheques are made out in Euros for that very same exchange rate reason.

    Wow, a comment flood! Frenzie commenting while I’m writing, let’s see what he said…. *checks email*
    *shakes head*

    You can say “I comment” and pull my nose as often as you like, dear; when I think that ppl have had a fair chance to catch up I’ll blend the new stuff in with the rest of the text and delete the temporary post…. and your comment…

    udvtjdt????

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