Today was the day that I head to the city center in amman. In the morning, we, my sister and I, headed out to a restaurant I think called alia. I could be wrong. It was on the university street. The plan was to get mo3ajjanat, so we did. Headed home to find that my brother already got falafel and hommus from a tabarboorian restaurant. Can’t remember the name as well. We gathered around the kitchen table for breakfast.
My father was as usual taking care of his trees. He brought me some eski denia, which we don’t have in the states. I even forgot what kind of fruit is that, or if there were any seeds inside. So I took a big bite and felt a bunch of big black seeds. It tasted so sour of course. But it tasted good since it was he himself who picked them up.
Closer towards lunch, my brother , sister, and I got into the car and drove to the city center. It was raining a little..off and on of course. We parked the car on the main street there, few hundred meters before a mosque. We walked down the street. This is the Jordan I left many years ago. The sound of corn horns, the smell of diesel, the traffic, the angry policeman, the tourists…all that and more.
As we were walking, I asked where is hashem restaurant. I wanted to eat in the same restaurant that the king and his family ate at. There it was. A small restaurant with a bout 4 tables or so. So I asked what is the signature dish of Hashem, and they told me it was the hommus. Hommus it was. I always wished to eat in the old style restaurants, where you have to fight away the flies off of your plate. I loved it I swear.
Then we went walking towards this place for souvenirs. I bought few shapes of petra (that’s what they know in Jordan), two small argeeleh, and few more shapes, one of them was der3 kollana al2ordon and another was the picture of jerusalim, a 3D picture. Wow. All that was only for 40 dinars. But my sister was not done yet. So she started to negotiate with the worker there for a better price. I stepped aside since we don’t do that in the states. She managed to get him to give us 5 JD discount. I was counting the money to give the guy. She then asked him for something weird. I never heard of it before. A term called “hadeyyeh 3albee3ah”. I gave my sister a look to please leave the guy alone. She pushed me back and told me let me handle it. The guy looked at me with looks begging to put an end to this. I told him “dude, I’m from the states and have nothing to do with this”. She managed to get couple of shirts displaying the flag,.
We walked outside to this area with lots of cloth shops..traditional cloths. I wanted to buy a gown for zaid, and a small dress for my daughter. We found this beautiful gown and I wanted it. She asked the salesman about the price, and he said 7 JD, but for her, it’s 6. She wanted 5, and I was like “are u kidding me? Let it go”. The guy pulled the gown away and said “sorry” so we walked outside. She was angry at how he treated her. We looked more for a store that has the same gown. We found this guy saying it was 8 JD. I told my sister “see, if we got that one, we would’ve been better off”. We didn’t buy it. My sister said that even if the first salesman gave it free to us, we shouldn’t take it. It’s a matter of principles. What principles?
So I went to this place, and the guy was pulling us inside to look. I said “man, I’m looking for other things”. He insisted on us to enter his shop. Nice dresses..traditional ones. But I didn’t want that. He then pulled this dress..blue..traditional..and I quickly fell in love with it. He saw that in my eyes. How much is that I asked. He said 25 JD. I wanted it so bad. He then started to pull dresses for my wife, and I again fell in love with another one. I wanted both so bad now. He informed me that if I was not 100% convinced in buying them, then don’t. He was nice in a way. I wanted them. So he said 20 JD for the little one, and 30JD for the larger one. Not bad. But wait a minute, here comes my sister again. She was slick this time. She told the guy that he is the face of Jordan and that people (like me) who come as tourists would need to see the true face of Jordan. The guy smiled and said 45JD for both. My sister again asked him “ween elkaram el2orduni?”. He laughed, and so did I. I ended up getting them for 40 JD.
I still need a gown for my son. We went to this place..small place, next to a ma7ma9eh. The guy pulled us in..asked what we were looking for, and pulled this gown..an emarati gown. He said 15 JD. My sister said that she just found one for 6 JD. He said tat he too has a one for 6 JD, a Chinese one. I loved his way of sale. He started going down…13…12..10 JD. I pulled my money and started to count..stopped at 9 JD..he said “haaat ya zalameh zahhagtni 7ayaati, mabrook” while laughing outloud.
We walked back to the car..but before doing so, I wanted to see the original habiba. I always heard stories about it..is it a legend? Is it realty? There it was…a small..very small place. No room to sit..or even stand. U buy the knafeh and u walk away. So I did. Ate it in the car.
It was about 7 pm now. I asked my sister to drop me about 1 km away from home, right next to the po box of tabarboor. I started walking home…thinking about this life of mine. What would it take for me to come back here? Why am I still there? How can I utilize my knowledge and life to serve this land of mine? Silly me, I started thinking about a letter to send to the king to share with him my concerns and my vision for a Jordan that fully utilizes the expertise and the services of it’s people. It’s a duty on me to do so. So I started to build what is going to be the content of my letter. Would the king even bother reading a letter from an unknown Jordanian stuck in foreign land? Maybe not..so I brushed it off. Sometimes, when you are thinking under the influence of emotions, you tend to get into silly ideas.
As I walked past thye small mosque next to arab bank, on the curb, I saw this nice family. A papa, a mama, and one little girl, walking in the opposite direction of mine. I started to wonder why can’t I be sufficient like this guy and come and live here. I mean he may be unhappy at home..or maybe broke…or maybe barely living. But his walk with his family is what I am missing. I want to have the luxury of walking..and then stopping for falafel..or maybe some icecream…and cross the street running fearing a car hitting me…and maybe buy a kg of tomato or zucchini on my way home. That’s the normal life that I miss.
To be fair to myself, I have decided to seriously explore the opportunities for me to come back and settle here. I need it. I just can’t continue living a life that is not meant for me. Oh my…time flies by so fast. I have reached our home. I sat outside next to the eski denia tree and started looking across the house, through the backyard and watch people walking by..cars driving by…mountains in the back distance..and there it was, the big Jordanian flag from a distance. So depressing..ain’t it. But there was my uncle inside screaming at me to come in and play cards as he liked how he beat my whachamacallit the other day. So I got beaten again. The taste of loss is so sweet, when the winner is my uncle and my father. Let them be happy about how they beat me in cards, only if they know I was much much happier seeing them that moment. Good night now for the final count down has started as I reached the midpoint of my short but lovely vacation.
Crazy & random thoughts
8 years ago