Sunday, May 19, 2013

I should do this more often

Walking up to evening mass is always a treat because the sun is setting for the day, the number of cars passing by slows down, and people are outside their homes and businesses enjoying day's end. To me it feels like a very mellow close to the weekend, but for most it is the close of the first day of the week. Every seems happy to greet the passerby and exchange pleasantries. I do so in limited fashion.

I always stop in to say hello to my Syrian barber. Sometimes he is sprawled out in his barber's chair catching a few winks, but with an eye always towards the potential customer standing at his door. He always gets up and greets me. He speaks to me loquaciously in Arabic and I understand two words at best and I greet him with my American English gibberish, but we laugh as he always invites me in for a conversation. His eyes are light blue, but always vivid. I wonder if he has a wife and children. He has been in Amman for a number of years - way before the troubles in Syria. He is a most pleasant chap, doesn't shave often, doesn't keep the cleanest shop, but is good at his craft.

I saw a man washing his blue van with a trail of blue water running down the street. I wondered if he was trying to revive the color or wash it away, but it seemed odd all the same.

On my way back from church, I watch the many people traffic themselves by me. Four men were pushing a stalled car up the road. I thought about helping, but it seemed like the car would start in any minute. Two minutes later, the four men were still pushing the car, but in the other direction. Traffic was backed up terribly, but no one was honking their horns - a real miracle.

I passed by a middle-age couple sitting on a cement railing and they seemed to be in easy conversation. We said hello as I walked towards home. I passed by the customary shopkeepers who waved their hands vigorously as I shouted "Marhaba" to them. (Hello.)

A couple of tourists were out for a stroll as their eyes and ears were inquisitive to everything happening around them. Then a second car glided by me pushed by three different men.

A religious sister, who speaks Italian and Arabic, and I chatted about which type of ice cream bar she would buy for her sisters. She exclaimed they were all too big for the little sister in the house. I helped her select, but she bought six of the largest chocolate bars and one black raspberry Italian ice. She had a wide grin as she made her purchase. I guess it was recreation for the Sabbath.

Since a very generous vendor gave me some bread, some new fangled unsalted chips, and some chicken stuffed dough, I decided to give it to the barber since I don't know if he eats well at all. He can't make that much money for cutting hair at 4 JOD a piece, but he is always busy. His face lit up brightly as I gave him some food and he promptly offered to share it with the customer whose hair he was cutting. I like giving away food and other items. It really makes me feel good.

I had the best time just being out for a stroll and I realized I have to get out and talk with people more. They are good hearted and most people just want someone to say something nice to them.

Afterwards I went to dinner with a couple of friends. I ordered "Vintage Marsala from Ramallah." What a name. I knew what I was ordering, but the marsala that we order for chicken in the States (marsala wine), is not the same marsala used in Jordan. Theirs is much more like spicy Indian food. It was very tasty and I enjoyed being with good company tonight. It was quite an evening to finish off the beginning of a rocky weekend when I was waylaid by a hard-hitting virus, but I have good memories of the weekend.


  1. What a pleasant read - you write in a way that makes me feel I am there! So sorry you were ill but glad that you have recovered well. Blessings.

    1. Thank you, Lynda. I woke up the following morning and went for a walk to see the city come to life.

  2. I, too, enjoyed your description of the walk to Mass. I enjoy riding my bike around for many of the same reasons. You see and talk to the people!

    1. You get to see many new things on a bike than when you drive a car. I like the different perspectives that we too frequently pass by without noticing.