|Chris standing in front of the Royal Cultural Center, underneath a picture of King Abdullah II and his ancestors|
Back in Vermont we get lots of precipitation, though the flood levels it reached not once but twice in the 2011 were a major cause of damage. But here in Jordan, one of the most water-scarce countries on earth, rain just wasn't in my mental array of challenges to watch out for. Though again, nothing in comparison to the snowstorm that the East Coast of the United States got over Halloween weekend, it's gotten noticeably colder in the last couple of weeks, and that made the rain all the more uncomfortable when it arrived with a bang on Thursday night. That was the night that Chris and I, and my Fulbright colleagues Tess and Angela had been invited to the home of Dr. Nidal Younis and his wife, Dr. Abla Al-bsoul, for a dinner with the Jordanian Commissioners of the Fulbright program here.
As is often the case here, the major complication is actually getting there. Though we had a detailed map we had no idea where we were going, nor did our driver, who was filling in for Mohammad (about whom I wrote in the previous post), and we were meeting a previous Fulbrighter, Kathryn, who lived in another part of the city and would be following us. Apparently the first major rain here is a particularly treacherous thing because it mixes with the long-term accumulation of dust and oil on the road to create a slick surface that cars spin out in easily. Although we arrived a half hour late for the dinner and saw several accidents on the road, we were all happy to get there in one piece. One of the purposes of the dinner was to introduce us to traditional Jordanian food, which our hosts did with a vengeance, but just as I was taking my first pictures the power went out (which our hosts surmised happened because of someone having an accident with the power line down the road). So, alas, I have only a shot or two of the impressive spread as a memento of our dinner.
|This is mensaf, the Jordanian national dish. It is lamb cooked in a fermented yogurt sauce over rice with pine nuts and/or almonds and more sauce on the side. It is served covered with a very thin bread called shrak.|
|Finding a place where Chris could run outside was another pretty major challenge. Here he is preparing to dodge the rain at Sports City, a giant complex of gyms and courts with an outdoor running path.|
This year Eid starts today (November 6), a fact that became obvious this morning sometime around 5 am when the usual morning call to prayer was replaced by a very long prayer that was repeated over and over for at least 45 minutes. Today is a Sunday and the beginning of the work week here. Therefore, the authorities have officially decided that the country can take the whole week off and Eid will extend all the way to Thursday, which allows for a 9-day break if one tacks on the weekends at both ends.
|Overcast day or no, I had to show Chris Books Cafe, and I'm sure we'll be back multiple times during the course of his visit.|
While I'm certainly not going to argue against a nine-day break, it has put a wrench in some of our travel plans, as it has meant that Jordanians have flocked to some of the places we had thought likely candidates for travel during this period. The original plan had been to go to Israel and the West Bank, but my residence permit processing is another casualty of the Eid holiday period, and without that travel over the Israeli border is problematic. So, it's looking like Petra and possibly Wadi Rum are our Plan B, and hopefully we'll take off tomorrow. After all, we are Vermonters (or honorary ones, at least). What's a little inclement weather and a few delays in the face of an impending outdoor adventure?