Friday, March 8, 2013

Sitting on the Promenade (so to speak)

In many ways, it is odd to be where I am. I drove 4 hours alone from Amman to Aqaba. That is the distance from Boston to NYC. There's nothing remarkable about it except that I am an American who can't speak Arabic yet. There's some level of risk, but it is kind of amazing that I have traveled all over Jordan and to parts of the West Bank and Jerusalem not knowing the language. I do all right. Many people in the world won't have a chance to do something like this, and while I am certainly a foreigner, I feel comfortable and at ease.

I saw a barefoot man climb a palm tree today with a sickle that was incredibly sharp. He but touched the blade of a palm and it fell to the ground. No effort needed. The man, who might have been in his late 50's, simply wrapped some twine around his body and ascended with ease.

I see many more people wearing eye-glasses in Aqaba than in Jordan. The attention to eye-care must be better here. Many very young people wear eye-glasses. I wonder why so many men, Arabians and others, wear moustaches. They often don't complement the man's face. They are often trimmed so it looks like an unwashed upper lip. We do this is the U.S. as well.

I sat down to read some papers and to practice for chorus rehearsal. A shadow fell upon me as a camel walked down the narrow promenade of the main street.

I was listening to a few songs when I looked up to see people enjoying that I was moving as I silently sang. I was listening to "You Get What you Give" by the New Radicals. Dancing and rhythm is not part of the daily scene in Jordan. It is hard enough to see a person smiling, but to sit down and listen to music is an essential for me. I can't imagine a life without music or the arts.


  1. Thanks for your fine story of your day trip out. I remember Aqaba from the film Laurence of Arabia. How exotic to be actually there ! That's a great song too and I agree: it's not one that you can easily keep still when listening to. :-))
    The song " I Can't live without my music" was played at a funeral of a friend I went to recently- she was in a Cornish choir and had a beautiful voice so it was a fitting tribute. I loved the part of getting caught by a camel shadow - now that is different !!

    1. I will certainly have to obtain the film somehow. It is quite exotic, and so curious to border Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Somehow, though I am isolated, this corner of the world makes me feel connected.

      This place is making me be at ease with unexpected and foreign. Some nights I go to sleep scratching my head. These are life-upending experiences.

  2. Oh my, I *love* that song!!! I'd be moving to it as well!

    Ah, Aqaba... as you know, my first stop when I arrived in Jordan. I see you have some photos of Wadi Rum; did you get to spend much time there. It is spectacular.

    1. I only spent a couple days there. I need to do more. I want to look up at the stars and feel the silence the way Jesus must have felt it. More to come.