Our apartment comes with a TV with more channels than you can shake a stick at. After rifling through news, sports and ad channels of varying intelligibility – near impossible to downright incomprehensible – we stumbled across a soap that had just started. To give you an insight into the beauty that is an Arabic soap, I’ll sum it up for you.
Roll credits. Boy meets girl. Girl draws portrait of boy. Boy buys flowers for girl. Boy proposes. Wedding. Boy meets mother-in-law. Fat bloke sits in corner crying and scoffing baklava. Boy and girl sign marital documents.
End credits. Boy and girl, after two minutes of vignetted, smile-drowned credits, are filing for a divorce. And all because the boy’s chubby buddy invited himself and two hookers to the guy’s house whilst his wife was out. And all this happened in just under four minutes in total. Part of me cheerily wants to believe that this is the rest of the infamous al-Kitaab Khaled/Maha saga, the other would dearly like to know what in blazes is going on. Everybody speaks at the speed of a bullet train. Everybody, that is, except the titular estranged lovers, who do a lot of the old staring mournfully at each other without so much as a word in edgeways.
Well, it’s just gone a quarter past ten here in our apartment (that’s eight o’clock English time). Sleeping wasn’t easy; not only does this city never sleep, but the room’s been steadily heating up since sunrise. Being just off the main road doesn’t help either. At least it’s vaguely central! After leaving the girls with their drivers at the airport for presumably the last time until class on Sunday, we were driven to our apartment by the surliest of the three cabbies. Andrew tried some Arabic on him but it was a very one-way conversation. But he got us to the front door in the end, and that’s all that matters. It’s a good deal better than what I was expecting, but then again I’ve been living in a £200 pound per month property in Durham: my standards, as you might imagine, aren’t exactly sky-high.
We’re taking it easy this morning. There’s a fair few things that need doing before classes begin tomorrow: namely, finding the nearest bank, post office, market, cafe and, of course, Ali Baba International Language Institute itself, which is supposed to be right next door, apparently. Unfortunately we’re right above a fast food sprawl: McDonalds, KFC, Burger King et al. glaring red and yellow right outside my window. We found a marginally more authentic shawarma joint to take suhuur this morning, but it wasn’t as simple as asking for Combo 8. It didn’t help that our non-conversational taxi driver told us that suhuur was at ‘thantayn wa nos’ – whatever that’s supposed to mean. Ending up going for breakfast at two thirty am on a level guess, by which point most establishments were shutting up shop. Lost in translation again, and this time in a language I’m supposed to understand. Bummer.
If we could find a functioning wifi hotspot as well, that would also be pretty grand, so you can actually start reading these posts. Between getting this iGizmo on Thursday and arriving in Amman, I’ve yet to find anywhere with reliable internet. Here’s to success on that front at least. B’saHa. BB x