Saturday, July 21, 2012

Welcome to Amman

Amman, like all our posts, is nothing like anywhere we’ve been before.  Landing here after our stop in Vienna, Austria with its wind farms, crystal clear lakes, and rolling green hills, was a study in contrasts.  Amman is anything but green, though it’s built in a series of seven hills, and water is scarce.  From above, the city is a sea of white and tan shades.  From the ground the shades are a little more distinctive, but not much.  Driving through town doesn’t give anything in the way landmarks at first glance.  It’s one sandstone colored building after another, with a variety of pillars, carvings, balconies and gated yards.  Only after a few times of making the same turns over and over do the individual buildings start to differentiate and every circle (they do love traffic circles) take on unique aspects.  Over the past week we’ve been driven around to stores, I took a CLO bus tour of the circle road and highlights of the city, and we’ve ventured out on our in the car we bought before we even landed.  Ramadan started last night so mornings, especially Friday mornings, are the time to wander around town without any traffic on the road.  Friday and Saturday are the weekend.  Sunday is the first day of the work week.  It takes some getting used to. 

With Ramadan, the local workday hours are shortened to 6 hours, people fast from sun-up to sun-down and at sun-down it’s time to eat and hit the streets and be social.  Which means that at sun-down we hunker down at home to avoid crazy traffic.  Crazy traffic is relative though.  It’s been described here as organic, and I suppose that’s a fitting term with cars weaving in and out almost effortlessly.  But people do yield.  They do stop at stoplights.  They do not turn right on red and only a handful drive fast.  You’d be surprised how many Porches, Lamborghinis, etc. we’ve seen.  Definitely not a car we would bring to dusty, dent-happy country.  We’re enjoying the Dodge Durango.  It’s red.  We’ve never owned a red car, and while it’s currently more sand-colored than red-colored, it’s very comfortable and very high.  People tend to give us way.  We’ve driven to dinner at our sponsor’s house (thankfully all Embassy folk live nearby) and to the Carrefour “all the way” at the City Mall on the other side of town.  I think with the absent Friday morning traffic it took us around 5 minutes to get home.  Getting there took a minute or two longer with several wrong turns involved.

Our home is three floors of tile floors and 10 foot ceilings.  The top floor houses Katherine’s en-suite with access to the roof balcony.  There’s also a room set-up as an office that will become Jonathon’s bedroom, and the laundry room that overlooks the neighbor’s tennis court.  That is where the insects come in.  Jordan doesn’t have much in the way of nuisance insects but we still have enough mosquitoes and the periodic spider that I blame the laundry room, the room with the leaking washer and extremely noisy dryer.  The middle floor has a bedroom for Rebecca and one for Nicholas with a shared bathroom, a den, and the master suite with a storage/dressing room.  This is the floor where we spend most of our time.  The main floor has a large combined living/dining space that we don’t use for anything at the moment but a puzzle on the dining table.  The kitchen has a 4-seater table and a 2-seater island, so when we sit down to dinner we’ll squeeze in together between the fridge and the freezer.  It’s not perfect, but it’s cozy.

I think we're going to be happy here.  It will be a short while of inconvenience as we rattle around a large, empty house with lousy bed covers made from material better suited for curtains or upholstery, and a fridge full of easy foods and take-out.  But our air shipment is expected some time this week and hopefully we'll get some painting done in the meantime.  Several orders have gone in to and  Before we know it, we'll feel like we've always been here, and never want to leave.

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