Monday, June 24, 2013

Arab Directions

Arab directions differ qualitatively from American directions. Today, I was to meet a group of people at a McDonald's restaurant that is adjacent to a gas station called Manaseer. That's it!

Manaseer is a very common gas station name, but thankfully McDonald's fast food restaurant is uncommon. Not!

I planned to leave early, but as happens in Jordan, a truck was parked in our lot blocking every single car. When I asked them to move it. They asked, "Now? Don't you see I'm busy?" Oh, yes, I'm sorry. My whole life revolves around yours.

I was not looking forward to this meeting, while at the same time I had great energy about it. I was fully prepared to tell them that I was ending the program for the summer because I was doing the lion's share of the work. I had to get there.

As I was misdirected, I was en route to Madaba. My host said, "Great! You are almost there. When you are on the airport road, take the exit to Madaba but don't go as far as the city." Wonderful, I thought! I was take the directions by inches.

Well, once you take the exit to Madaba, you come to a roundabout that has two choices for Madaba. Another strike against me. I chose the first, went into the city, and doubled back and took the next road.

I was supposed to take a right at the supermarket, but I expected a supermarket to be a large building with lots of food products, a pharmacy, bakery, flowers and plants, and greeting cards, but this one was smaller than a corner store, about 1/4 the size of a Seven Eleven. Another strike.

Then I was supposed to look for the airplane on top of the house where I could take a right. Of course!

I would then come to a Petrol Station on the right and I would take the first left. Easy enough.

I arrived at the house at noon, but only after Sana guided me every step of the way. Cleverly she told me to meet her at King's Academy and she would escort me to the house. That was very kind of her. I told her I was only 10 kilometers away. She waited on the main road to see from which direction I was coming.

My GPS took me on single-lane roads that we often blocked by cars who pulled over to the side, except there were no sides to which one could pull over. I had to wait twice for two different goat-herders to pass before I could go further. My GPS had given me the camel's route.

Finally, I ended up at King's College. My GPS said, "You have arrived," but I was in the middle of a deserted field.

I drove along the gravel road and was ready to turn onto the main road, where by serendipity, Sana was waiting. She was so patiently waiting to see me pass on the main road and she had never thought that I would pull up along the gravel road. I could see her laughing her head off at the irony of it, but we finally got to the house within ten minutes.

Funny. I wasn't the least bit upset. After nine months and four days of being in Jordan, this seems like the regular ordo.

No comments:

Post a Comment