Blood, Tears and Broken Glass

It’s a Friday night in down-town Amman, the streets are buzzing and Andrew and Mac are exploring an abandoned hospital. Yours truly chickened out of this particular venture. I guess that means I’m on lookout? Jeez, how lame does that make me sound…

It’s kind of creepy, sitting outside this tumbledown hospital with the sounds of breaking glass and echoed footsteps breaking the half-silence. Not to mention the dim light from Andrew’s phone flickering off the walls between the windows from time to time. Am I missing out? Very possibly. Will I regret it? Almost certainly. I’m not about to abandon my post, though. Call it a brush with foreign police once too often, but I’m calling shy this time. In the countryside, maybe, but not in the middle of the city on a Friday night. And especially not after watching As Above So Below last night. Not on my life.

We’re into our sixth week in Jordan. Three school weeks remain, and after that – who knows? I took out another two hundred and fifty dinars this morning. The goal is to make that last until the end. With any luck, that should just cut it, travel funds and all, although I have been known to be a little over-optimistic about this kind of thing. Jordan’s bus service may be criminally cheap, but the Amman taxi system is draining my resources at a ridiculous speed. And there’s no avoiding them either, and believe me, we’ve tried. Google Maps gave us an estimate of two and a half hours. We scoffed at that and called it one and a half. Turns out it was a three-hour job. We won’t be walking to down-town again any time soon – not when there’s shopping to be done. And I thought that living twenty minutes’ walk from any shops in Durham was problematic! Something to think about if you plan on staying in Amman. It wouldn’t be a problem if you lived down-town, of course, but up here in Tla al-Ali, it’s a different story. Please don’t buy my fervent dislike for the place, that’s just me and my city angst, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the cost of all these taxi rides – two dinars a throw – racks up fast. I’m looking forward to living in a town where everything is within walking distance.

Now that the end is in sight, though, it’s a lot easier to stay positive. I’ve got it into my head that I’m not coming back next year and that thought alone is keeping me going, no matter how hard I’m going to have to fight to make it so. Hence a slightly less bitchy, more reserved tone this time around. It’s a lot easier with the midterm depression out of the way. Any and all lingering ill tempers were successfully vented this afternoon with The Green Mile. Tears all round, as it should be. There’s no better way to get it all out than with the greatest tearjerker of them all. Next stop, 12 Years a Slave! (There’s a bit of a theme going on here…) Films aside, I’ve plenty of books to keep me going between now and then, thanks to the wonder that is iBooks and all the free material on offer. Best of all, I even stumbled across a book of Arabic short stories penned by none other than our very own Dr. Daniel Newman, which I simply have to get my hands on the next time I swing by Books@Cafe. For the time being, I’ve at least another twenty Henry Rider Haggard books to wade through, including the full Quatermain saga. Excellent stuff. Perfect travel fuel, too.

Although I’m swung to thinking that perhaps Ethiopia might be wiser than South Africa for potential backpacking. It’s just a hunch. Further research needed. BB x

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