Friday, August 10, 2012

Guess What. We've been in Amman for a month today.

We've been here a month and with that comes a little clarity to our circumstances. The adrenaline has worn off, the jetlag is long gone, we're even making some friends. We've driven around the city, done our grocery shopping, gone to work and camp, received our UAB, hung out by the pool and at home.

So here goes, 5 things we enjoy about Amman, and 5 things we aren't so thrilled about.  Of course this list isn't all there is to Amman, but here's a taste.

The Good:

1) Driving around.  Folks don't honk, people even follow signage and lights.  Sure, it'll get worse once Ramadan is over and school begins, but for now, driving is nearly fun.

2) The Embassy folk, from every division.  The GSO folk, the CONS folk, the front office folk, the AESCSA folk, and all the folk in-between.  Helpful?  Oh yes.  Kind?  Yes to that too.  I know that not everyone gets along (there are a lot of Americans here, personalities will clash), but for the folks we interact with nothing but nice.  And the LES staff?  One word.  Awesome.

3) The weather.  It's warm with blue skies, and the breeze is cool.  Every day.

4) The food.  Hummus.  Flat breads that come in so many flavors and styles.  The honey has a tasting station in the stores and all the honeys are labeled according to their pollen source.  And I'll admit it, the lamb is good too.

5) The city.  It's gorgeous.  When the setting sun hits the hills and lights up all the sand colored buildings, it's simply stunning.

The Bad:

1) The littering.  The city provides dumpsters and trash pick-up.  OK, not enough, but still, put your trash next to the dumpster if it's full.  Instead, trash is strewn around the streets every night.  You might think it's the wind's fault, and some of it is, but far from all.  Take pride in your city, people!  It's beautiful, but not when there are McDonald's containers in the median.

2) People stare.  We're not that odd looking, and enough people speak English here that even our speech shouldn't attract attention.  And yet, there we are.

3) Ramadan.  Ok, let me 'splain.  There's nothing wrong with Ramadan, but our American senses have a bit of a hard time not being able to eat and drink in public (who knew we drink so much in public? Hello Starbucks.).  This is simply nitpicky on my part, because we do eat and drink during the day at home and at the Embassy.

4) Limited internet and cell phone. Texting is more expensive than a phone call, and there's no such thing as unlimited internet. This one is from the kids.

5) The neighborhood.  Like it it not, this is still the Middle East and should anything go awry it won't come from inside the borders, it'll be something happening in a neighbor's yard.  Can't let it color our every day activities, but also can't ignore it.  No, can't ignore it at all.

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