Thursday, December 6, 2012

Adventures in Jordan - Part 1

Hello all!

After a bit of technological craziness, I've gotten my photos together on my computer.  So here is a recap of my adventures to Jordan.

First, I want to outline how this trip began, because it totally was not planned. I had set up vacation for the week of Thanksgiving to go to Korea, and this was related to a completely retarded plane ticket I had bought in July to Seoul.  Do NOT buy a refundable ticket from US Airways, people.  Not fun. So long story short, I had bought a refundable ticket to Seoul in July, which turned out NOT to be refundable, so I rebooked it for Thanksgiving.  A few weeks ago there were some changes to my plans, and after several calls to US Airways, some confusion about cancellation fees (apparently a refundable ticket garners a $300 cancellation fee, which makes no sense if its effing refundable), I decided to eat the fee, that it was better to have some of the money and be able to use it on any airline, instead of have the whole amount stuck in some ticket credit with US Airways.  Strangely enough, after all that arguing, I got an email the other day saying they actually refunded me the full amount, and didn't charge me the $300.  Good, I got all my dinero back, but I am never booking a ticket with US Airways again - they  need to get their policies straight.

Anyway, back to Jordan.  Taline is currently working in Jordan doing a fellowship for Kiva, so I looked at flights, bought a ticket on the fly, and 2 days later left for a fun itinerary - LAX-SFO-JFK-VIE-AMM.

The trip did not start out well.  I stopped in SFO for a day to wrap up some work and I ended up getting a in a huge, huge argument with my parents regarding my dog.  That's another story on its own, but basically people have no right to yell at me for a prolonged period of time if both parties agree to do something and I write detailed instructions. When I write instructions, people need to read them.  I know this isn't my fault because this instruction writing issue happened again earlier this week.  But that's for another time, basically there were bad things happening and I ended up sleeping in the airport the evening before my 7 am flight to JFK. 

The flight to Amman takes about 25 hours, and with the sleeping in the airport thing, I was pretty beat by the time I arrived in the Amman airport on Sunday morning.  Taline was nice enough to write me detailed instructions in Arabic for the taxi driver, which looked like this (I think it's pasted backwards :)

منطقة العبدلي
قرب مسجد الملك عبدلله
الدخلة على اليمين قبل الكنيسة في وجه المسجد
ثمّ الدخلة الأولة على اليمين قرب Hotel Caravan
البناية رقم ٩ و هي آخر بناية على جهة الشمال
الرجاء  الإتّصال على الرقم التالي :4301 740-079 
الإسم: تالين
مع جزيل الشكر.

I make it to her apartment but we discover that my Verizon phone which supposedly has international roaming will make phone calls but not text messages.  Now, international roaming is another post I will make which will make it easier for people to ensure connectivity and not get lost as much when they're abroad, but it took several calls to Verizon to figure out:
1) my phone was, indeed, on roaming
2) Verizon does not cover international texts in Jordan, only calls
3) my Droid RAZR Maxx was already unlocked with the most recent update, so it IS possible to use a sim card with a CDMA phone
4) the SIM card slot is a micro sim card, like what iPhones use.

Taline lives in a neighborhood in Jordan called Abdali, which is by this huge blue mosque (and now I realize I forgot to actually take pictures of it).  There is also a church next to it so there is either chanting from the mosque or ringing bells from the church depending on the day.  She lives in an apartment complex which happens to be overrun with really nice and entertaining Italians who work for various NGOs and the UN, who were a blast to talk with : ) Everyone was lots of fun and we had a going away party for one of them, more on that later. 

 Anyway, Taline was nice enough to plan my entire week in Jordan for me, which was a welcome change to the usual : ) of course then I proceeded to half ruin it by sleeping and waking up in a jetlagged stupor for most of Monday.

Tuesday, I got my arse up and out of the house, and went walking around downtown Amman.  Most of it is quite busy and has narrow streets. I went through a street with just furniture... a street with just pet store stuff... and a street with a bunch of glassware... and then I got to some tourist area which is selling little knick knacks and other random stuff.  Then I got to the Roman Theater, which is a theatre from the Philadelphian era (I have no idea when this is, not a history buff, sadly).  All I know is it was built int the BC era.  Also I was too lazy to crop the panoramic view.

 I have a couple of pictures of the theatre, and then I sat down to read my book, but was promptly annoyed by some dude sitting on the steps staring at me.  I ignore him and continue reading my book.  Then he comes over and says..... (dun dun dun)..... "you're not from this country, are you?" and then asked if he could sit and talk with me.  Dude!  Do I look like I'm from Jordan? No offense, but Ilast time I checked I was Asian. Anyway, he wasn't being creepy or weird, actually he seemed really nice but I really was pretty engrossed in my book, so I said no, and then he proceeded to annoy me by lurking around different parts of the theatre spying on me. Then I got up and left.

After that I walked up to Rainbow Street, which has a bunch of high end shops and some bars/cafes and things that are better for night time, it seemed to be pretty trendy and I passed by a falafel place that the King apparently endorses or something. (I feel bad because I don't speak or read Arabic so just extrapolating).

After a bunch of walking around, I ended up back at Taline's house and after resting, they had a surprise birthday party for one of her flatmates... who didn't show up!  But I met a lot of Italians during it and it was still a lot of fun.

I'm saving this here but coming up next... Petra, Asloun and Jerash!

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