Tuesday, April 5, 2011
A long walk in the rain
Today while Pae flew to Tunisia, I decided to get out and take a walk. Problem was that it was raining all day. Cold drizzle in the morning, rather heavy rain noonish, then drizzly again in the evening. Really cold rain too. I put my jacket liner on and went outside about two hours before sundown and decided to walk towards 8th Circle.Amman is basically a city built on a series of hills, and there are eight areas called "circles" 1-8. The physical circle is only a traffic circle or roundabout at a certain point. You can see them in the map above that I ripped from a hotel website :) You pretty much tell a taxi driver 1-8 and he knows the basic direction to go. As you near your chosen circle, the taxi driver will look at you in the mirror and you tell him "left", "right", "straight", etc. until you arrive at your exact destination.Anyway, the drizzle was light and it felt like I was walking in a light snow, with the little snow pieces (not flakes) hitting my jacket and making little sounds. Only about a half hour into my walk in the rain did I realize that I was getting REALLY wet, hahaha. My ears started stinging so I made an occasional pit stop in a mini mart or grocery store or kebab joint to partake of their heat.Call to prayer soon sounded and people slowly filled the streets and all started wandering towards one direction, so I followed them. It was getting dark so I had to make sure that I remembered where I was, but I've got a pretty good sense of direction, so I was less worried about navigation but more aware of my surroundings, people around me, small groups of teens scowling as I passed, smiling old ladies, dudes not paying attention and almost getting creamed by a speeding dump truck...etc.I have to say, that compared to the other areas of the city I've wandered, 8th circle area seemed a lot more "ethnic", a poorer area, a less touristy area (not that there's much touristy in Amman). I saw many more children in the streets, many more women rushing through the cold, wet streets with bags of groceries and fresh vegetables for the evening's meal, many more men sitting under battery powered lights on the sidewalk polishing shoes, selling used electronics, fruits, vegetables, steamed corn, Turkish coffee. Where Pae lives, 7th Circle, I see many more suits, dress shirts, ties, slacks, shiny shoes, sunglasses and nice cars. 8th circle I saw more soiled white robes, mud-stained sandals, grubby kids in tattered corduroys, dark wrinkled faces with the permanent Clint Eastwood squint from working under the intense sun for years.I had seen this blue domed mosque from up on a hill earlier in my walk, and as I followed the mosque goers down through little alleys and muddy construction sites, I found myself right on the proverbial doorstep! It was getting dark and I was taking pictures with my phone, so these are the best photos I could get for the blog. I don't even know the name of this mosque. All I know is that it was in the 8th circle area of Amman and about 2 hours into my wandering.After I snapped a couple pictures and listened to some of the speaker in the mosque (over the loudspeaker) I started to work my way to where I though the actual roundabout "8th Circle) was. From there I'd be able to almost see the area where Pae lives and could comfortable find my way back to the warmth and dryness of the apartment, although it has no heat! They survived all summer last year without air conditioning and Pae spent the whole winter without a heater! The other two girls experimented with space heaters but they kept blowing out the circuit breaker, so they gave up on them. A giant Winnie the Pooh quilt and an even bigger Pooh comforter keep Pae warm, along with her Snoopy, gingerbread man and bumble bee pajamas!Nothing too interesting on the way back home. I did eat some great kebab and fries at a hole in the wall for around 2 dollars (USD). So that was a bonus!! Nothing better after a cold wet walk than grilled chicken, hummus, and dill pickles on a pita slack tortilla slash naan type wrap.