Sunday, May 31, 2009

Two weeks in Heaven, Day 9, Monday

Not too many things to do today. I actually and deliberately kept today free of any commitments. I wanted to roam on my own. I asked my brother to drop me in the morning on his way to work somewhere on gardens street. He told me to wait when he is off to take me to places. I don't want to go to places. I just wanted to be alone. Not that I had enough with my family, but I wanted to satisfy my desires to be alone. After lots of debate, and after my father insisted to drive me anywhere I wished, I convinced them to leave me alone. I am not a kid for crying out loud. Their worries are that I will get lost somehwre. I mean come on people, I travel a lot to strange places and I can take care of myself. Nevertheless, I felt special for a change.

He dropped me by a bridge next to a big supermarket (safeway or that sort). Actually, it was probably 1/2 km away from jabri ..I think. At any rate, I started walking on this street. Under the bridge, there was a small grocery store. I stopped to pick up a pack of cigarette. If only my wife finds out that I smoke, she would do kill me. I stopped smoking, officially, about 7 months ago. Yet, when I travel, I buy a pack to ease my stress. I know I am not making sense, or giving a justification, but I felt that cigarettes ease up my stress when I'm alone. When I go back home, I stop smoking and it doesn't bother me at all.

I sat on the side of this small store, and took one cigarette out, and started huffing and puffing. I then got up and started walking. This was about 8 am. Lots of cars in the street. I didn't know what to do or where to go. I then passed by alkal7ah restaurant. I wasn't hungry at all. But it brought back some memories. I continued walking not caring about food. Strange...I know. And then it hit me. I stopped a taxi (which was very difficult). I asked him to take me to the bus station where I can take a buss to zarqa. He started asking me if I was not from here; as if he didn't figure it out yet from my question. I said yes, but I do come here every year just to hint to him that he won't be able to trick me with a higher charge.

On the way, and after I told him I was from the states, he started chatting. Same questions that I hear almost every day. Swine flu, politics, and how can anyone immigrate to America. I think there is a big misconception about things in America. I mean why would anyone suggest that the US government deliberately renamed "pig’s flu" to H1N1 or some kind of number just to cover-up the negative effect of eating pork? Seriously, this is the third time I heard that there is a name cove up. His rational was that the government didn't attempt to cover up mad cow disease with some kind of number system, so why this "pigs flu"? Oh this discussion is giving me a big headache. Regardless, he was a nice man.

Got to the station about 20 minutes later. Not too far from the city center. I went then to a buss that goes to zarqa. I do have an uncle that my father doesn't speak to. He is actually my father's immediate cousin. They argued about some stupid family stuff 2 years ago and are still not talking to each others. I do like this uncle of mine. I hope my father wouldn't get angry for me going to visit him. I mean he offered to take me to see him. I just wanted to see him alone, without my father.

I got to zarqa, which changed a lot, and took a taxi to Alsa3adah Street. My uncle has a small shop there as his retirement shop. I was dropped at Alsa3adah Street and started walking. There used to be a movie theater there called Alhamra Theater. It used to show 3 movies for one ticket back 25 years ago when we used to visit home from the UAE. I had a cousin where we used to sneak outside the house and go watch some movies. I couldn't find the theater. I can't remember on what street it was. Anyway, I got to the shop. I walked inside. I could see my uncle sitting behind the counter while a worker was cutting shawarma for some customer. It smelled good, but I wasn't hungry. I said hello, but he didn't recognize me. I love his kashrah. I hope that no tourist ever get in his restaurant because he will get a very bad impression about the good old Jordanian smile. Who am I kidding, everyone has the same kashrah. He asked me what I wanted to eat or drink, and I said "come on uncle, you can't have that bad of a memory. He then recognized that I was a member of the family...but still didn't know who. I told him who I was and he couldn't believe it.

He then started complaining why my father wouldn't let him know that I was in the country, especially that my vacation is so short. I told him to forget about it and let’s chat. His immediate comments were "are you ok in here? No problems with the government? Do u need any assistance?" I laughed and told him to relax; I had no troubles getting in the country. And yes I renewed the passport and I am ok. Still the shawarma smell was bugging me as my stomach was grinding. I told him I could use a sandwich, but he said "are you crazy, I won't feed you here. Let’s go home".

So we went to street number 16 in "new zarqa". His house is there. We got there and greeted his wife. His little daughter is now a teenager. And she is beautiful, yet he is one of the ugliest uncles I have, and most are ugly. His wife is cute. She started preparing lunch. He eats heavy. He is heavy anyway. There was mo3lag and some hummus and other stuff. He sure makes a hell of a hummus. After this heavy lunch, we sat and started talking about the family. His approach was that he has had it with this family of ours and that he is happy away from everyone. "Those who want me, they can find me" was his answer to most of my questions. I didn't wanna press too much on this as I was here in zarqa to see him. My phone started ringing and it was my brother asking me where I was and if I needed any ride. I told him I am fine and don't worry about it. Didn't realize that it was after 3 pm now. Time flies by too fast. I excused myself to go home, and he insisted to drive me to tabarboor. I asked him that I had more things to do before I could go home. Again he insisted to take me to those places. I refused and told him that I may not see him again this trip but I will sure come and see him when I come back to Jordan.

So he drove me to Amman and dropped me in Mecca street...or maybe almadina street by three grocery stores people refer to them as "soog el7awamel" I was told once that if I wanted to find toot or any rare fruit not in it's season, I will find them in one of those three stores. I wish I could remember the street name. Anyway, I walked in the first place, and this young Egyptian man came asking what I was looking for. I hope that I don't look pregnant to this guy. Before I could answer him, I saw toot. Oh God, I can't believe it. I love this fruit. I bought me two small boxes, and a small box of apricots on the spot. I waited for a taxi to take me home. I got home at about 6 pm that afternoon holding my bounty. I rushed into the kitchen and washed the fruit and started digging while everyone was laughing. They asked where did I find this, and I said "soog el7awamel". They didn't know that I know about that mysterious market. My uncle told me about it in zarqa.

I told my father that I visited my uncle, and he quickly changed his face. I quickly apologized for him but told him that even though I recognize the differences, but that’s my uncle, and that God knows if I ever see him again. He overcame that and actually was happy to hear that I cared about the family. I have to care.....I don't get to see them often, unlike my parents. Not too long after that, the same uncle of mine called my father telling him that he was gonna pick up another uncle of mine (the one near jabal alqosoor) and come and spend the evening here. Of course my father couldn't say no.

Both showed up about an hour later with playing cards. Now, I let my uncle beat me twice so far, and that’s it. So I teamed up with my father against the two. My father takes cards way too serious, so I made sure that I do not make any error, and I was clean that night. On the one hand, I got my revenge against that uncle of mine, and on the other hand, my father felt good beating his least in playing cards. I hope that this be a start of the relationships to go back to some kind of normality between the two. I really wish.

It was now 11 pm, and my mom was asking me if I was hungry. I started jumping and saying "mom..please..stop talking about food...please". Actually, a box of toot can do wonders to your stomach. I felt that I was getting sick from it. I think it makes your stomach not holding food for too long as I was rushing back and forth to the bathroom.

Oh is passt midnight now and I am exhausted. I walked a lot today. I had lots of fun. I think I did.

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