Monday, May 18, 2009

Two Weeks in Heaven

As many of u, and the mokhabarat, know that I have just came from my jordanian vacation. I have enjoyed every hour and every minute, to the point that I would love to share my humble experience with you. For that, and as a punishment to you all, I am gonna post a post per every day I spent there. Sue me :)
Day 1, Sunday 4/26/09
As my delta flight approached Palestine, and as I heared the captain demanding passengers to sit down because it was a "closed air space" as he indicated, I started watching from my window the middeterrenian sea. Suddenly, I could see palestine. It was about 4 pm that afternoon. I could see cities..and there was part of the dead sea. Even though I never seen palestine, and nore did my father (except during the war), I still have lots of feelings towards a land that is dear to my heart....and my religion. It's the land of my grandfather after all.
I could now see queen's alia airport from a distance. My heart started pounding faster. The plane continued flying pass the airport, probably preparing to approach the airport from the east. I always get a window seat. During my flights in the states, all I see is patches of green..rivers..and lots of communities. But now I only see yellow...beige...nothig but desert. I told myself, in a loud voice, "sa7ra sa7ra, w rabb elka3beh ajmal men jannat al2ard".
The plane landed..and now we were taxing towards the gate. I got my carry-on, and stood eagerly to exit the plane. The door opened and I felt a born again bo3bo3. As I walked through the brisge into the airport, I could see cigarret butts on the floor. For a moment, I felt " damn, they will never change" but quickly awakened to the fact that I don't want them to change.
I approached the Visa counter to obtain a visa on my US passport, i saw the jordanian natinal counter empty. I went there, and asked if I could enter using my 2 year expired jordanian passport. The guy at the counter smiled and told me "of course you can". So I did. I went straigh to the duty free market for the normal procedure. 4 cartoons of cigarrettes for my brothers. I then got my two luggage and went straight to the gates. One guard stopped me asking if I had more than 2 cartoon of cigarettes, and I answered yes I have four. He laughed and instructed me to continue on.
As I passed through the arrival hall, I saw my father. I greeted him as usual and we went straight to his car. We loaded the luggage into his car and drove out. He is getting older and older now, yet, I could see the youngness in him as he was driving like a race car driver in his new car. I was happy seeing him happy as well. Of course, he called home to let them know that we are on our way.
On the drive home, I was starring at the land. I couldn't believe that I am in Jordan. It felt as I was on one of regular business flights, but this is different. I still see people on the side of the street selling coffee. There were some selling "7amleh malaneh" and bananna's. Amman changed. It's still beautifull. There is the big flag that I could see from dad's home in 6abarboor. We go through streets that i don;t recognize.
Then we apprach 6abarboor traffic light. It is still the same. Now I know my way home. Same places that I left 4 years ago. We now apprach our 25 years old home. Back in the days, there were only two houses on that hill, one of them was ours. There wasn't even a raod leading to it back then. As I exited the car, I could see my two brothers and my two sisters. I greeted them and was suddenly surrounded by so many kids I don;t even know who is who.
Not to my suprise, the smell of jameed was filling the neighberhood. I sat inside the living room talking to the family and mom was planning the "mansafiesta". I ate..and ate..and ate more. It's now about 9 pm, and I wanted habiba knafeh. So I got my sister and we drove to habiba. Got me 5 kilo's and went home. Everyone was yelling at me that 3 kilo would've been enough for the small familia. So I told them fine, you get your 3 kilo, and I'll do the rest. I don't know how I managed, but I did finish the rest..sort of.
One of my sisters is married, so she had to go home wiuth her husband. The other one is not. We sat home and we made coffee, and drank. I didn;t wanna go to bed, but everyone else wanted to. I didn;t care it was 2 am. I just wanted to utalize every minute of my stay in jordan. So we all slept. I was up at 5:30 am on the sound of prayer. i admit that I was so happy hearing such sound. This is something we never hear in america. So i got up, prayed, and prepared coffee. My sister woke up on the smell of coffee.

Day 2
I woke up early hearing the fajr prayer. Nothing beats drinking coffee in our front yard seeing the sun barely coming out. I tried to be quiet as much as possible, but the sound of cars was overwhelming. Tabarboor sure changed a lot. At about 7 am, my brother came down from his apartment. He was going to work. Few chats, and he was on his way. There was something itching me, and I used to do it in the past. I want to go and buy breakfast…like the good old days. So I kept bugging my sister to get ready for breakfast.
She insisted to take me to abu jbarah. I didn’t care. So we headed straight to abu jbarah. We got a can of hommus, a can of foul, and 40 pieces of falafel (at which, my sister was gonna get a heart attack). On the way back to tabarboor, I watched the school kids wait for their rides. The traffic was pretty bad, but we were heading home, and that is against the traffic flow on a work day.
We stopped at a bakery in tabarboor that specializes in 6aboon. We bought 4 pieces (oh..the smell…it sure is heaven on earth). We were home by 9 am. My parents were up of course. We gathered in the kitchen to prepare the breakfast. All four of sat down around the kitchen table and I started enjoying the falafel. They didn’t eat much, but that’s ok. They don’t know that most of us in ghorbah would pay dearly just for a half an hour around kitchen table, with the family, and feeling the beautiful morning breeze of tabarboor. It’s not the falafel…but the whole atmosphere.
Ata little before 10 am, I could hear my father calling me so we can go and renew the passport. We left the house to the government building. May have been the 4th circle???I can’t remember where it was. Have I mentioned that my father drives like a young stallion? Ever since he got his Mercedes, he was acting funny. It awakened a young driver in him. At any way, I was holding the side bar in the car throughout the drive. He scares me. But maybe this is how all Jordanian drive.
At the counter, we filled a quick 2 page application and attached pictures and took a number. I loved the concept of taking a number and wait your turn. This wasn’t the case few years back. My number was called, and I went to the window. A beautiful Jordanian woman was working behind the counter. I wish she smiles. Why can’t she smile. Please smile. For heavens sake smile…I won’t take it the wring way. Oh well…never mind. I gave her the application, paid my 20 JD at the cashier and was told to come back in 30 minutes. So my dad and I walked….toward a company called “baytona” not too far from the passport place.
We got inside and my dad was trying to get dividends on his stocks in that company. They owe him for two years. It wasn’t a lot, but he thought to stop by since he was in the area anyways. The guy working there apologized that he doesn’t have money in the cashier to pay him. My dad was yelling at the poor guy and questioning how a company this size doesn’t have 590 JD in the office. I was laughing at the way he was yelling.
It was 30 minutes and we got my passport back. We drove back to the house and we were home before 12 noon. I was a little tired, but if I sleep now, I’ll be up all night. So I didn’t. I walked towards “down town tabarboor”. The sun was hot, but that tabarboorian breeze is making it easy on me. I picked up my cell phone that my sister got me for the 2 weeks, and called Mr ala aldeen to let him know that I have arrived. I asked him to give me a couple of days until I finish seeing my family and then we shall get together.
I then went home and sat..awaiting my brother’s arrival. He came home at 3 pm. We then went out for a drive. My mom was preparing lunch for the family. My second favorite meal…grape leaves and zucchini. I bought few books and PC programs for Zaid as mrs bo3bo3 instructed (and threatened) me. Teaching Arabic for English speaking children. At 5 pm, we were home. We ate. My sister and her husband showed up. Finally..I missed those three little girls of hers. The 2 years old one is cute. They r all cute, but this one was sweet and was trying to get closer to me.
After lots of tea and coffee, it was time for shawarma. So my two brothers, and my two sisters went out to mecca street in a hunt for reem’s shawarma. We bought 20 meat and 20 chicken shawarma’s….in “shrak” bread. I couldn’t wait to get home to I ate two meat shawarma’s on the way. We stopped by habiba on the way and grabbed a couple of kg of knafah.
We had lots of fun that night. Again, my sister and her daughters had to leave home. I do appreciate my brother in law for bringing my sister. They live in marj el7amam, which is a far distance from tabarboor, yet he didn’t mind driving her back and forth. My father started his argeeleh, and I snuck outside for a cigarette. I am almost 40 yrs old, yet, my father never saw me smoking…ever. Maybe I’m still scared since the time his frind saw me smoking and my father chased me with his gun in the street s of alain, UAE when I was 15 yrs old. Oh well….I am so tired now. I think I wanna sleep for 20 hours. Tomorrow, I’m going to visit the family of my wife.

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