we arrived at 0235 but found our way out of Queen Alia airport only at 0415. we were the last to leave customs and Ravi’s bag was found dumped by the conveyor belt. mine was MIA. i didn’t have a chance to worry, a little ginger cat came out from behind the conveyor belt (!) and happily sat out there, like she was Queen Alia. “ah!” thought i, “what a good sign!”
i thought too soon.
we had a booking with Palace Hotel, and had even arranged a hotel pickup with them. the Palace Hotel is “The Author’s Choice” of Lonely Planet’s guide to the Middle East.
our pick up never showed, and when we called the hotel, we found out they had lost our reservation. we were forgotten, completely lost in the abyss of bookings, reservations and foggy brainwaves. you can imagine what hearing this news at 0415 must be like – especially after a flight full of irritable, wailing children.
and 4 days of packing up the entire house to move.
we grabbed a cab, the cabbie was happy to welcome us to his country. he said “welcome to jordan” at least four times, and we thanked him no less than four times too. Ravi was so impressed with the warm welcome that came after the painful delay at customs, he tipped him generously enough for the guy to live for a week on McArabias.
when Ismail greeted us at Hisham Hotel, i wanted to fall into his arms – and the vacation hadn’t even started yet. he was extremely warm and made me feel like Santa Claus was manning the counter that night, complete with beard and all.
our room had a very 70s feel to it. the round, heavy glass lamp on the ceiling of the bathroom looked like it might have served as a crystal fruit bowl once. retro turquoise bathroom tiles, bathtub and fixtures made me feel, strangely, like i was born in the 60s.
it smelled 70s too.
it has 700+ cable channels (and counting, we haven’t reached the end of it yet) including adverts for gay-to-gay chats. we felt like we had to migrate immediately to Jordan – this must be a great place.
by the time we fell asleep, it was 0530, and instead of sleeping in our individual single beds, we, the large buffalo and cow, decided to sleep in the same slim bed and left the other unwarmed. because we are the most logical people around.
the plan was to get up by 0730 and explore Jerash, Ajloun and Amman. but boy, oh boy did we miss that mark. we got up at 1015 and lost half the day.
while making our way north of Amman, we fell in love with Jordan. hills and hills of olive trees and apricot plantations rose and fell before us. different shades of green, browns, greys and whites assaulted us with a sense of history and peace – although the sprawling Palestinian refugee camp at the base of one such hill would beg to differ.
Jerash was a huge site and was absolutely fascinating. i should have built up my stamina before this vacation, because i was out of breath more than i was in step with the guide. a local tried to sell me old coins he found at the site, for JD15 each – i was about to jump at it when Ravi promptly extinguished my dream of owning a little piece of history. instead, Ravi offered to wash the ancient coins for him.
Ajloun was a sweet ,little castle crowning the top of a hill. the roads leading up to the castle gave us a glimpse into the lives of the locals. they live very simply and while their time away on old couches on roadside pavements or at a neighbour’s bakery or car repair shop.
we tried to rush back to Amman to visit the Roman Theatre and Citadel, but we were too late. we passed out on our way back to Amman. we found ourselves at a mall, desperately needing a haircut (Ravi), a tampon (me), a pedicure (me) and a camera bag (again, me). Ravi got what he wanted and more – this is the most perfect “machine number 1” hairshave he has ever gotten. ever. and i got nothing.
we decided to explore the area around Masjid Hussein but were somewhat disappointed – living in Dubai, few things surprise us anymore at these Souks.
we went back to our hotel and it’s 700+ and counting cable channels and dreamt of castles and crusaders.