Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Night on the Town

I started this yesterday, so it's a day old:

The King Abdullah Mosque and look ... a real Christian
church and right next to it!  I guess Muslims don't hate Christians ;-D
Well, today is Saturday and as such it was a day to explore and find out more about the wonderful city I am living in, Amman.  It rained on and off today which we found out is sort of odd for this time of year but that it is because it is changing from winter to summer (No one I've talked to has used the word Spring yet). This evening, Jeremy, Aussie and I decided we would head over to the King Abdullah Mosque that is the biggest mosque in Amman. It is a beautiful and monstrous mosque with towering minarets and gorgeous Arabic script all around it. We, however, did not realize that the hours it was open were 8:00 to 4:00 and so we were quickly ushered off the grounds by a friendly worker there. So then we went exploring on that road and walked by a barbershop. I was in serious need of a shave and a haircut (two-pence?) so I decided to try out the Jordanian experience, it was AWESOME. It only cost 4 dinars, about 5 bucks, and I got an amazing haircut and a wonderful shave with a straight razor that is still smooth today over 24 hours later. The best part was that during the haircut we got to talk (more like listen) to the men in the shop as they talked about politics, religion, and other topics of concern. It was amazing and I am definitely going to go back next week to get another shave and conversation.

My first straight blade shave and it was amazing.
I've decided I'm going to go back every Saturday!
After getting some falafel we again started exploring and found ourselves at the end of a couple of dead ends. This is where I get to go on a tangent about how amazing the Jordanian people are. He we were, three random foreigners walking down streets at night and every person who saw us stopped and asked if they could help us and welcomed us to Jordan. It's like that everywhere; the people love foreigners and love to help us out. I thought that Japan was hospitable but they have nothing on the Jordanians. Take for instance our next-door neighbors the Atmel family, there 16 year-old suns Mahmud literally waits at the door looking through the peephole waiting for us to come back. Tonight they invited us in simply to talk and fed us some delicious tea and hard bread, and one of the worst things I have ever tasted, intentionally fermented milk that I simply could not stomach. They are an amazing family and invited us over again tomorrow night to watch the soccer game, Real Madrid and have some more food. Also, their son Ahmed is going on a small hajj (called an Umra) this week to Mecca with his mother and little brother. He called us brothers and said that he will get all of us souvenirs. Ahmed loves America; he says he loves anything American no matter what it is. In fact when he found out that Jeremy had a Toyota he said that he didn't need a Japanese Car to buy America. He told us that all Jordanians love America and all Americans are welcome here and then he asked a question that made me sad, what do Americans think of Jordan? Do Americans love Jordan like Jordanians love America? How could I answer that? How could I say that most Americans have no idea that the average Arab is just likes them? In America our opinion of Arabs is limited to what we see on television and what we think we know of their history and culture. Even those of us who think we are educated have no idea of the actual people here and it is so heart breaking to tell Ahmed that those that he idol worships don't care a lick about him and would probably categorize him as a terrorist.

The beautiful Al-Hussein Mosque, the oldest mosque in Jordan
It is for experiences like this that I came to Jordan. How can we as Americans be so insulated from what is actually happening in the world and an entire people that occupy one of the most important areas of the world? First hand experiences, where we interact with Arabs and they see that we aren't all gun-toting, beer drinking, loud, angry people who kill each other at the drop of a hat (like portrayed in Hollywood) are how we gain trust and cooperation. I love being her in Jordan and after only 4 days I love these people and I can better understand the struggles they are going through and the passion they have for life. It is awesome, and although I do not begin to think I actually know all about them or understand them perfectly I am already learning and changing much.

Fun Jordanian Fact:  You can buy almost any pirated DVD for a buck 1.50!

1 comment:

  1. YEAH YEAH YEAH! This is so exciting!!! The blade shave - scary - that was a must for the guys in my group in Jeru. I've been to that mosque! So beautiful!
    Fun Fact: I bought high school musical 3 pirated for 1.50 and something else, but I can't remember what movie. Our profs actually showed us the store to buy them. ha :) You should buy a ton!