Friday, February 20, 2015

Weather or Not

I find the weather a really hard topic to write about... so not a lot of words but I'll just let the photos speak for themselves. I've seen sun, hail, rain, and snow all in Amman now and all in one day. Just when I thought North Carolina didn't have competition for crazy weather schedules, I officially believe Amman can compete. Oh and remember that viral video of the weatherman freaking out over "thundersnow"? Yeah, that's a totally normal thing here. 

We were supposed to go to Aqaba this weekend, but due to the anticipation of rain, wind, and snow the government declared it a national holiday, aka, a state of emergency. As a result, most businesses closed and the buses to beloved Aqaba, were canceled. Local businesses remained open at their own risk, but pretty sure most of those owners lived within, if not within walking distance, of those shops.

For anyone wondering how we are managing to stay warm without another outrageous electricity bill, well the 10JD sleeping bag from Carrefore has worked absolute wonders. Yes, I can still see my breath inside the apartment; yes, it's an excuse to go to the cafe for heat; yes our fridge has indeed decided to quit working again so, yes our foods are on the balcony; no, I don't know how we still have power; and no, I don't know how we still have internet; oh and yes, I still believe these are going to be some of the best months of my life. 

I didn't visit the Citadel in the snow, but remember the lovely view from my balcony I mentioned? It's above.
The garden below my balcony in the snow. It's kind of adorable right? I doubt the fruits are thinking that.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Bikinis, Booties, Beanies, and... Blazes

Casual day at City Mall. Doing your everyday shopping for bikinis and beanies, right? Well that's not really two things you normally buy together, but when it's 40 degrees in Amman and you are getting ready for a warm weekend in Aqaba, it is. It was really the perfect time to buy because stores are cleaning out their fall product and getting ready for spring styles so I got a beanie for 4JD, but also the leftover bathing suits are from last season so Tara got that for only 2JD! It was a win-win. 

Oh and there was one other small win... 2JD leather booties. What? How does that even happen? I'll tell how. You find something in a store without a tag, with only one left, and it just happens to be in your size, and when the sales associate can't seem to find it in the computer, boom it's 2JD. Then, you rush out of the store in a retail high because you feel as if you have literally stole something and someone may chase you down, realizing the mistake they have made and ask you to pay more. Luckily that didn't happen. 

The 2JD booties.

So, as the lovely shopping trip comes to a close Tara and I are waiting on Nicola to finish up and then we look up and Aldo is on FIRE. Okay, the "o" was on fire. Next thing I know Tara is running to tell the store that it is on fire and moving much faster than I. Luckily, that gave me time to video and get photos of the incident. Within a few minutes the fire was out and we were on our way home. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

It's Electric

We got our electricity bill this week. For one month, it was 315 JD. That's about 445 USD. For an apartment. We don't have central heating or air, but we do have 4 space heaters. And apparently that's the kicker. An expensive electricity bill for Amman is normally 100 to 150 JD, so while this number remains unconfirmed, we remain hopeful...

In other electrifying news, the fridge decided to take the weekend off and the freezer has completely given up on life. All of Nicola's bread making stuff has gone bad. So that means no crumpets for anyone. Someone was going to be here around 5:30pm to check it out... it's now 10:41pm. This takes arab time to a whole new meaning. Also we could have expected someone in 30 minutes from 3pm to explain the electric bill and they have yet to show also. That takes bad landlords to a whole new meaning. 

All in all, we are just thankful that at the end of the day, we have wifi, and can watch Katy Perry from "Left Shark's" halftime show on repeat... oh wait. 

Get a copy of your free left shark while you still can.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Sunrise > Sunset

It's 6am Tuesday morning. And I've decided the sunrise is better than the sunset. For me anyways. Anybody who knows me, just a little, knows I am a night owl. So, I don't see the sunrise often and always assumed I enjoyed the sunset more. But really, the less we see of things, the more beautiful they are in our own eyes. They are a rarer beauty. 

The Citadel is just a bit to the right of the center of the photo. 
Technically, I am up really late and complaining on various social media sites about how I cannot get on a normal sleep schedule. But I'm actually thankful to be awake at this early hour to see the sun come up over the Citadel from my balcony. 
  • Side pun: Got the sun goin' up... on a Tuesday.
Slept for 2 hours, awake for 5, now let's see if I can get back to sleep and still be up in time to see more than 3 hours of daylight. Beginning to wonder if this blog title should have been Jet Lagged for Life."

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Time and Space

Day 1 and 2 and 3: (Since I randomly decided to start a blog, three days into my trip, three days into the rest of my life.) Left Raleigh, NC wide-eyed (they are already big so this was kind of a given) and with overweight luggage.Typical. Tried to leave most of my "baggage" behind though. 
  • Delta extra bag fee: $75
  • American extra bag fee: $100 (paid the extra $25 when my Delta flight was delayed and they bumped me up to an American, so I wouldn't miss connections, then had to change terminals at JFK. JFK, such a lovely place. Oh, did you know they are going to be the first airport with a terminal just for animals?!) 
  • American overweight bag fee: another $100

I didn't have any issues making it to Amman. Unlocked my phone before I left, so when I arrived at the airport went and got my phone set up. 12JD today and 6JD a month/when you run out. Absurdly cheap. That's calls, text, and data with Zain. Then I head out to find a taxi. The "bellboy" who I thought was the driver takes my bags and pushes them to the car, loads it, and then tells me he's the bellboy, waiting for the tip. One way, or another, they'll get you. No small JDs on me, I give him some $2 USD. What? My bags were really heavy. And I had five. Negotiated the cab ride before departure. Gave me the standard 20JD price and we were off.

I arrive in Dwar Paris, Tara hops in the cab, and directs us to the flat. Finally, all settled and starved, we head out for food. There's a newish cafe called Kepi, specializing in Mexican. The one cuisine lacking in Jordan. The one cuisine I did not plan on eating. Not mad at it though and the chicken quesadilla was amazing. They have great lunch deals. Entree, side, and drink for around 5JD. I will be back. 

The next afternoon, after I had come out of my coma, it was time to gear up for a starter kit shopping trip. Also I needed food. City Mall is the destination, mainly because the massive Carrefour is there. Carrefour is the french Wal-Mart of the Middle East. French it may be, but classier than Wal-Mart it is not... Okay they are about equal. 
  • Side joke: Why aren't there any Wal-Marts in the Middle East? Because they aren't Targets. (There aren't Targets either, but it's funny right?)
Breakfast/lunch/dinner was at Cafe Hanin in City Mall. Lina took me here this past summer, and it was love at first bite. If you can get a table by the window you are in for a great view also. A plus for most of the cafes in Amman is that breakfast is served all day. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so even though I woke up at 3pm I could still get the mufarrakeh, which is scrambled eggs, sautéed with onions, potatoes, minced meat, and spices. We also got the staple hummus and pita, and a manakeesh which is basically a thin crust pizza without tomato sauce and you can chose the toppings. We went with cheese and zatar. The best way to do food in Amman normally is family style. Most restaurants don't split checks so its easier for paying and you get to taste a good variety of dishes instead of staring across the table, thinking about how you'd love to try something. After the food we hit up Zara, they were having a sale, and then went on to the necessary shopping. 2-3 hours later we are back home, unpacking groceries, hanging up clothes, and my room and beginning to feel like my room 

Day 4: Realized there's been another day since my departure. I remember getting up at a decent hour. 7am. Yeah, no. There's nothing decent about that. I'm a night owl. Ended up being productive, had a short nap, and then I was ready to head into downtown, aka, Wasat Al Balad or the Balad, meaning old city. It's the older part of Amman, where you can bargain and deal, get souvenirs for people you don't really like, find books in arabic, etc. We picked up DVDs and books. On the way pack we had picked up another mate, a cat. He followed us all the way to our next stop, a cafe at Darat al Funun. We weren't really hungry, but the place was quaint and we were tired of the uphill climb so we stopped in for tea, juice, and hot chocolate. The lemon and mint drink tasted just like lemonade from back home, there was no mint overload. The hot chocolate however, you had to sweeten yourself. They had a good deal where you could get a stuffed pita and tea for 3JD. It looked as though the snacks they offer change daily. I could not locate any wifi, so I will have to look into that next time, and they did not have shisha. But it was absolutely one of the best views I've had in Amman and it was very shaded which will be lovely when it heats up.

Fun fact: There is a Palestinian Space Agency and one of their satellites is in Jabal Weibdeh! 
If you are walking up the stairs I'm on (below) look up and to your left.

The stairs... Satellite on the left.

Darat al Funun Cafe

A star is as far as the eye can see and as near as my eye is to me. 
-Emily Jacir

Travel? Life? Both.

I've been in Amman for a few days now. Now, I should be sleeping. Sleep is not coming easily. Easy was last night when I feel asleep at 10:30pm and woke up at 3pm. 3pm is not the time to start a day or the day will continue into the night. Nightly, I plan to sleep, but when it fights me I am feeling the urge to write. Writing. What makes a good writer from a bad one? One who writes all their thoughts and feelings, which is what I feel I am currently doing, could do so in a diary. I have one of those. Those in which I write thoughts and feelings I do not think others would enjoy. Enjoyment of someone else's words. That's subjective. How does one form their words objectively, so that someone else will enjoy them, subjectively? Or maybe they don't.

This is going to be a travel blog. Or maybe it will be a life blog. I hope you enjoy, subjectively or objectively or whatever.