City of Old and New- Intro to Amman

12 Aug 2014 Title
…Continued from previous post here.

We arrived in Amman at 2 in the morning, and were rushed through customs because our dogs were barking and scaring all of the locals.  Jordan is a very accommodating country, but they are predominantly Muslim, and in Muslim culture, dogs are dirty and to be avoided, and as such they are very much feared.

That being said, one of the country’s celebrities, a fashion model, stirred up quite a storm with her photo shoot exposing tattoos and cuddling her black lab!  Our neighborhood gendarmerie often take cigarette breaks on our front wall, and they are always telling me how beautiful our dogs are.  The little girl next door asked me, “How do we get them to like us?”  There is a very progressive undercurrent here, carried by the free-loving hipster youth.  Walk any day along Rainbow Street, and you’ll be reminded of any main street in any college town in the states, filled with shops, restaurants, bars and coffee shops.  It’s become one of my favorite places!

Bri at Cafe Strada on Rainbow Street.  Amman, Jordan.

My gorgeous sister at Cafe Strada on Rainbow Street. Amman, Jordan.

Anyway I digress, we were whisked to a van where it took 30 minutes to figure out how to get all five of us, the dogs, and our small arsenal of luggage loaded.  I was amazed that Kaila sat on leash patiently waiting, she was just so excited to see her mom!  Mackie, since he’s a bear, didn’t get such luxury.  Finally our driver set out for the city.  The airport is about twenty minutes away, but it seemed like forever because there is little light along the highway and we were surrounded by darkness.  He made some turns, a gas station here, a traffic circle there, and pulled up to our apartment building where our temporary house was.  It was quiet in the middle of the night, and the street lighting gave the neighborhood such a magical feel.  And then the Gendarme walked up, equipped with his AR and combat vest, and that’s when it really hit me- we are most definitely not in Kansas any more!  I thought the Gendarme would make me uneasy, but they actually make me feel safer than some places back home!

After a few hours of jet-lagged sleep, I awoke and had coffee on our balcony at about 5 am as the sun rose.  It was breezy and cool and the air was filled with that excitement for the future and what it beholds.  In that moment I knew we were on a grand adventure!  We are living abroad!  We are ACTUALLY doing this!

View from our balcony.

View from our balcony.

It wasn’t until our trip to take Bri to the airport to go home that we saw our previous surroundings during the daylight.  There is desert all around, dotted with small irrigated landscapes for farmers.  You can even spot several dirt devils twisting around the landscape surrounding the airport.  As you get closer to the city though, you get grand views of farms and hillside suburban neighborhoods.  You pass an Ikea (Yay!!!), and various gas stations.  The architecture is mesmerizing, you feel transported to Arabian Nights, but it also has a distinct Mediterranean feel.  The apartments and homes are all built this way, but there are several epicenters in the city where you have high rise building all glass and steel.  The Abdoun bridge is an impressive sight to behold.

And then there is the Amphitheater and Citadel downtown.  Until we were assigned this post, I had no idea there were any Roman ruins in the city.  I like history, but H is the ancient history guru in this family.  A 15 minute taxi ride will take you back in time.  If you are lucky, like we were, your taxi driver will give you a broken English tour of the neighborhoods, as he’s switchbacking up the hill to the ruins.

The citadel, Amman, Jordan.

The citadel, Amman, Jordan.

The Citadel.  Amman, Jordan.

City view from the Citadel. Amman, Jordan.

But there is more, there is the Dead Sea and Petra, and Wadi Mujib and Wadi Rum (two entirely different things in case you were wondering).  And there are the forests to the North, that I hear will make us (almost) feel like we are at home, and Aqaba to the south, with renowned snorkeling and diving. Two years to do so much!

Love and Happyness to all!

~M

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