Sunday, June 7, 2009

My last day in Amman

View from the Citadel, Abdel and son, chain mail from folklore museum, terra cotta sarcophegi from BCE, more citadel, roman theatre and pictures. The last one is just for Mom, Blue Willow in an ehibit case at the Folklore museum.
Hi all. I saw women working today. A woman came in to run the reception desk here this morning. I saw a woman in an Army uniform (still with full head cover) and a female police officer was in the Folklore museum. The male police on the streets wear helmets with the spikes on top, like the Kaiser. Very Cool.
I decided rather than spend another day in a car with other tourists I'd look around Amman. I felt very comfortable walking around. I tried to follow a walking tour from the guidebook but very few of the streets have street signs. The streets are windy with alleys and small streets going off everywhich way. So I just started looking. Amman reminds me of Manhattan in that shops of the same types tend to be in the same areas. There are several fabric stores in the area near the hotel. Some of the stuff is pretty elaborate with beading, etc. You have to go to a different shop to get thread, buttons, etc. You can take the girl out of the stitchery but you can't take the stitching out of the girl. I have fixed 2 of my bags since I've been gone and also attached a handerchief to the back of my hat to keep the sun off my neck and ears.
I walked past all sort of shops. Lots of spices and food. Small rabbits and chickens in cages, fish swimming in tanks, lamb heads in the windows. I found a couple shoe repair shops with old machines like I remember from my days at Schiltz's. Most people ignored me but at a stall where there were buying scrap aluminum (mostly pop cans) a young boy clapped his hands at me and make a get away motion. I gave him the open hand shoulder shrug, like Why? Again with the clap and get. I shook my head, damn it on a public street I can look if I want to. Besides, he was just a scrawny thing, I could have taken him easily. So I moved on. I went past a shop where some men were making clothes. They didn't mind me coming in and looking at their machines. Industrial Jukis, Singers and a Suzuki. Then I walked into the area where tents, awnings and umbrellas were being made. I looked in the shop of Adbel Rahman Al-Syouri. He gave me the "Holla", it's an arabic word that means welcome. Not like after thank you but like you are welcome to come in. His English was pretty good, he has 2 sons in Chicago. One working at a restaurant and the other a limosine driver. He pulled out a short roll of fabric and said sit down. He was working with heavy canvas on a Seiko walking foot machine. He insisted I have cafe, tea or pepsi and sent his son to get me a sandwich. I'd just had breakfast but ate a little to be polite. The cold pepsi tasted good. He wanted to know if I had a beautiful daughter to marry to his son and invited me to have dinner at his house to meet his wife and kids. Hard to tell how serious he was.
I pressed on and decided to take a cab to the citadel, built on one of the highest hills in the area. The ruins are interesting but again the best part was being able to look out over so much of the city. I was able to see the huge Jordanian flag that is semi famous. At a couple of these sites the guides have been pretty aggressive. They start talking and won't go away. I don't like to be rude but I've had to be firm several times that I want to look around on my own. From the Citadel, you can see the Roman Theatre. I walked down, I like seeing the residential areas on foot. You get a better flavor of how people live. I went into a convenience store and bought a popsicle. Several groups of kids said Hi. I do get tired of "Where from? USA? I love your contry like I love my children." from the adults. I was trying to figure out how to get downhill when I saw a man turn off the street and disappear. He was headed down a long flight of steps that took me to the level of the theatre.
The theatre was cool but I really enjoyed the museums of Folklore and Jordanian traditions. Lots of info on how people here lived in the not too distant past. From there I walked on to the Nyphadeum and back to the hotel. After a little freshen up I ate at a place nearby recommended by the guide book. I had hummos, falafel, bread and a bottle of water for 1.5 JD. 1 JD =approx .75 USD, so it was a good, cheap meal. I tried to find a shop to buy a camera. Mine is going wonky. It acted like it had low batteries and kept shutting itself off even after I replaced them. But after 8 o'clock, no luck on camera shops. Maybe in Istanbul.
Speaking of which, I am off in the morning to the Poem Hotel. I'm having a great time but am getting ready to come home. Traveling alone has it's perks, going where and when I want but it is starting to get a little lonely. I am ready to see my sister, neighbors, friends and CATS. No dogs here in Amman and very few cats. I'm thinking about that Charles Worth dress at the OSU collection.
PS. To my followers, I just found your comments today (remember I'm new at this blog thing). So, nice to hear from you all.
PPS. I think I sent my dad a Father's Day card a week early. I thought it was this Sunday just past but now think maybe it's next week. Oh well, better early than never.

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