Thursday, April 23, 2009

A quick trip to meet the neighbours . . . 24 hours in Jordan

Traveling alone is a good idea when you want to meet people along the way.

Kind, warm, friendly people opened
themselves to me all day in Amman and then in Irbid, Jordan's second largest city, home to some 650,000 souls including my friends in Vancouver Najib, Amal, Adri and Khaled.

I met and talked with so many . . . most were displaced Palestinians living in Jordan. Everyone received me beautifully -- and I never hid who I am. I spoke with some for hours . . . about exactly what is important to us.

A pita baker takes his fresh loaves off a cooling rack and stacks them in wooden trays to take to nearby restaurants and bread shops.

Late at night, in one of hundreds of little coffee shops in old Amman full of men young and old playing cards or chess, sipping thick sweet coffee, a young man uses his hands to mix the narghileh tobacco with pungent apple flavouring while an older fellow tries it out.

Right across from the Husseini Mosque in Wust al-Balled, old Amman, a young guy with a sweet smile sells very tempting almond and farina pastery. I didn't find anyone to be pushy or in my face there.

Just outside the mosque, a kind man prepares a miswak for me -- a special stick from Pakistan used for cleaning the teeth, just like a toothbrush, complete with specific instructions on how to do it just like the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) did in his lifetime. They come in plain, mint, lemon and sandalwood. First, he peeled off a finger's width of bark from one end and then lightly tap-tap-tapped it with a little hammer to break up the fibers for me.

Two lifelong neighbours who might have made such
a different life for everyone if only . . . if only . . .

This photo is on the wall inside the border station on the Israeli side between Israel and Jordan at the Sheikh Hussein Bridge between Beit Shaan (Beisan) in the west and Irbid in the east.

I'll write more when I can, im yirtseh ha-Shem.