Marhaba! So I have been about four days in Amman already and I love it! It is a city filled with contrast, history and culture.
Before I start, I titled my last post Ma Behki Arabi , which means: I don’t speak arabic. I decided to name each post after a useful phrase and then reveal the translation in the post that follows, that way I can practice!
We have been very busy and there is no better example of this than our second day. On Thursday we went to a friend of a friend’s house for lunch (this is totally normal here people are very welcoming). Here we met some very interesting people and had our first share of Mansaf!
Mansaf is a bedouin dish and it consists of very moist rice, almost like rissotto, soft lamb, herbs and almonds on top. You also drizzle it with jameed sauce, which is like unsweetened yoghurt or laban. You are supposed to eat mansaf with your hands by rolling it into small balls, but in this case we had ‘fancy mansaf’ so we had a spoon. However, one of the hosts did give us meet with his own hand, which is a sign of welcome and generosity but a tough pill to swallow for us gemophobes.
Either way we had tons of it and it was delicious.
After that we went to a couple of refugee camps where palestinian refugees have been living for over sixty years. We heard some very interesting stories about how these, old men now, had to leave their homes after the Palestinian-Israeli war in 1948 because they feared for their and their family’s well-being. It was a particularly painful time for them because they had to leave the place they called home behind and make a life in a new country where, even today, they have many restrictions and not as many rights as a regular citizen.
Nonetheless we had a great time and drank a lot of coffee and tea, which every house offered us as a sign of courtesy. (Sorry no pics of this part of the story.)
On to the next chapter!
So on Friday, which is like a Sunday in the west, we went to the balad, which is a market in the center of Jordan filled with fruits, vegetables, movies, traditional arab dresses, movies, electronics, basically everything you may have ever wanted it is there.
There is a mosque by the balad and it is huuuge! There are also hundreds of stores with typical palestinian dresses, like the one below, though they were soo cheap (about 40 – 60 JD) that we’re pretty sure they are not originals.
At least one of these items is in every arab house around the world.
My roommate found a pretty nifty lighter which looked like an old gun, so of course we had to mess around with it.
And of course what day in the balad would be complete without some knafe from a traditional place called Habiba? We did some knafe tasting (that’s a thing here) and I decided I liked my first knafe better because it wasn’t as sweet, by the end of this trip I will give my review of what is the best knafe in town.
At Jaffra café, a traditional palestinian-owned coffee shop, there was a picture of Mahmoud Darwish a famous palestinian poet and the man after which my scholarship is named after, so pic-op of course!
So much knafe is weighing on my conscience (and my hips!) so I am glad I bought some fruit to balance it all out.