Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Gone Walkabout

After a day of sorting so that I can pack, I started doing a watercolor of a nighttime seaport. It will take a lot of work but it is a nice scene to paint. After a disconcerting day because of all the transition stuff I’m doing, I decided to take a walk to the Abdali Project once gain. I’m trying to take in all the good things I can before I leave.

I was torn when I arrived at the new downtown complex because Australia was playing the Netherlands in the World Cup. I didn’t know which team to support. I’m delighted Australia is in the Cup, but since I’m one quarter Dutch and I chose the Netherlands in a pool to win in all, I found myself in a quandary.

I’m liking the Jordanian people more and more. I was listening to my IPod and letting myself be taken up by the music when I stopped at this station where children were doing supervised artwork. This older man smiled at me as I bumped to the music and he wanted to know if I was listening to Arabic music or Western music. I said both. I finally understand the types of Arabic music. I thought he might be Catholic.

We started chatting and he is indeed Catholic and he attends one of the churches where I say mass, but for the Arabic masses. His older son has a disability and the younger one is a dynamo. Both sons really love their dad. That is very clear and he is a kind, gentle man, very measured, and smooth speaking. It was a nice encounter.

I continued along and the security guards wanted to see me, including the security guard supervisor. I chatted with them – three in all – and then the Catholic family came over again. It felt like I had an audience around me. I keep meeting more and more people who know other people I know, but it is time for me to leave.

The security guards are very pleased with the new development project. They know this is going to be the biggest project to define Amman in their lifetime. They remarked that many of the people are here just to take a walk and to take in the beauty around them. I agree. They children and the adults alike like the water fountains and the little spouts that cool them down during the summer. People are smiling and laughing and so many people are mulling about even though a single storefront is not open. It is the first time they have public space that is wide enough for them to enjoy in safety.

They are learning how to spend leisure time. Quite a few are just enjoying the world cup on temporary screens or savoring an ice cream cone or having a simple meal. Most just congregate and meet others and enjoy catching up. They are just hanging out.

So many people are having photos taken of themselves. I don’t see that in other parts of Amman, but it happens here nightly. Even women who are covered head to toe are posing freely for photos. It is nice to see.

I hope employees are getting a just wage. The security guards say most Ammani workers get 300 JD a month and that is too low for most of them.

I also hope this project is not too small. Though there are three layers, once it gets occupied, the space will seem to shrink. Right now people are enjoying the spaciousness of it all.

I sat down near one of the fountains and about half an hour later I awoke as I apparently lay my body down for a nap. I marveled at that fact that I’m 5,500 miles away from what is called ‘home’ and I’m in the center of a city of 4 million people and I feel uninhibited enough to take a nap. That shows some comfort and trust.

Well, the Netherlands beat Australia during my nap.

On the way out I turned on my IPod again and was apparently singing because three covered women stopped to listen to me and we danced on the street corner and laughed up a storm. It was a good night. People are so good. 


  1. You have some marvellous memories to carry with you as you leave this place that you have grown to enjoy so very much. I have enjoyed the tales of your life in Jordan and especially the joy that people can find in each other. Blessings.

    1. I do indeed have great memories. Thanks for all your good words. Hope you can make it to Jordan some day.