Friday, September 29, 2006

Photos from the Past

Two nights ago we went to Madaba for dinner at the Madaba Inn. I have been there several times before, but hadn’t looked at the old photos on the wall. A quick glance at one picture shows the recognizable Bedouin tent, several people, and what looks like a large pile of baseballs stacked on the roof of the tent! Of course those ‘baseballs’ had to be Jmeed. I realized that in all my years here I’ve never once imagined how they might have dried the salted balls of yoghurt into the familiar hard rocks that we all know. What an amazingly simple way to do it. Then my husband told me he remembered going to the encampment of his great uncle when he was a little boy. They grazed their sheep and goats between Madaba and Zarqa Ma’een in the spring. Daily they milked their cattle and made yoghurt which was dried on the roof of the tents. At night they would remove the jmeed, and as soon as the sun was up, they put it back to dry which took several days to complete.

Then my sister-in-law suggested we try to find her mother in another picture. It was one of about 10 girls posing with several nuns. I looked closely and everyone laughed when I threw up my hands in defeat. It’s impossible to recognize anyone in the picture. Even though it was an old photo, I could still distinguish features, but regardless, they all looked the same! They were wearing shapeless black dresses and headdresses; no expressions on their stony faces. Some were taller than others and a few had no shoes. They all looked in need of a bath. My sister-in-law then said that for sure each girl was wearing the only dress that she owned. Water was reserved for drinking and cooking not for bathing and laundry.

I don’t know why these images linger in my head. Possibly because they document some harsh realities from Jordan’s not too distant past. Possibly because this is part of my children’s and grandchildren’s heritage, and I need to tell them about it. Possibly because they depict a simpler life that I have never known.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Moab musings

My cat's an alien - check out those eyes!

Hubby thinks I should stop reading the news – it's just someone else's opinion and it depresses you, he says. And anyway being 'middle of the road' only gets you run over, he adds … too right there!

Why bother with the internet, alternative media, regular media and all that spin, he says – look at life, smile and do some gardening. Stop worrying, he keeps saying; but how can I when I know we are heading for nuclear war, says me, even more confused;

"Ya salam" exclaims hubby, lowering his newspaper, as if to emphasize a point (how ironic – salam means peace in Arabic) the next war is going to be fiddlesticks compared to the First and Second World Wars where tens of millions died in Europe. Life has not changed in over five thousand years - men will always want to kill other men, says hubby waxing lyrical! What's new?

What we really should be worried about is global warming – the earth has not been this hot since recorded history – so go and do some gardening before you disappear in a puff of smoke – vaporized by mother nature – "pinggggg ... gawn!" he says with a cheeky smile on his face … and as I head for the garden with axe in hand, with an equally cheeky grin on my face, I do a quick detoured dash to the computer … J

Going for the kill by alien cat number 2 in the garden

Monday, September 25, 2006

Not So Smart

Two friends of mine and I were talking about renewing our drivers’ licenses today. The question came up of whether or not one needs to take a driving test again. We recalled that the only test that is given is a simple eye test to ensure sufficiently good vision to operate a vehicle. I wish there was another test that could be done that would accurately measure each driver’s ability to restrain from reckless driving no matter how tempting the provocation!

Today is the second day of Ramadan and the time is 6:15 PM. I hear from my window the intermittent whiz of cars as they speed down the road with careless abandon. In a city of almost 3 million souls there is no excuse for a legitimately licensed driver to speed on any of the city’s roads at any time. I understand one may want to be at the Iftar table at sunset, but to recklessly endanger one’s own life and the lives of others to avoid being tardy for a meal is irresponsible, immature, unintelligent, scary, not so smart – need I go on?



Yikes, I am worried about myself...somebody help me! I can't drive by a bin anymore without stopping to take its picture. I kinda feel sorry for those that I have missed...or neglected. I even have cliches and songs running through my head...such as "bin there done that" and "I've got you under my bin"... etc. I think that tomorrow I will stay at home...or if I go out driving, I will just keep my eyes closed. I see lots of other drivers doing that these days. It must have something to do with Ramadan. So these two pictures will now be the last of the lot.....unless................
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Sunday, September 24, 2006

More Legless Bins

Can you guess where these are from??

Does anyone think that it is time for the municipality to invest in new bins???
kag Posted by Picasa

Contest: Which One is From Your Neighborhood?

Is there anyone else who is noticing the state of our garbage bins and the trash around the city?? I thought that we should hold a contest and see who can identify their neighborhood bin. The winner either pick up the trash, or buy the municipality a new bin!! kag

Friday, September 22, 2006

Seventh Circle Terminal

The Seventh Circle Terminal for Royal Jordanian is a great idea and I always use it as it is so convenient to check in and get my boarding card etc the night before. BUT after the check in one has to go down to the room where the suitcases are put through the x-ray. Yuk, stinks of cigarettes and the place is dirty and the staff are not very professional. Shame. T

On This We All Agree

Yesterday I saw Yosra, a sweet, young Moslem woman, who does my nails from time to time. When we’re together, we usually have lively discussions about traditions and customs here and in the west. In view of these relaxed conversations, I mentioned that I thought Pope Benedict XVI’s comments about Islam were most unfortunate. She slowly moved her chair back a little bit, and I felt she did so to put some distance between us in case her remarks upset me. But instead of stating her opinion, she asked me a question. Did I think that the west really hated Moslems? I could understand that the Pope’s comments coming not long after the publication of the Danish cartoons would prompt such a thought. I answered that I didn’t believe that the west hated Moslems; but that the west was basically ignorant of Islam and Moslem concerns. I went on to say that these two incidents proved they could be thoughtless as well.

Our conversation continued by her telling me of the tolerance of Islam throughout history and reminding me that Jesus was mentioned in the Koran as a prophet. Her support for Moslem tolerance was quiet, sincere, and not in the least emotional. Then she ended the conversation with this simple statement, “After all, we all share this earth together. We must put aside differences and get along.”


A free press?

"Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people" Black Hugo L.

I came across the above statement this morning shortly after reading Ramzy Baroud in 21 September issue of the Jordan Times. Quite a coincidence, but then the daunting task sunk in ..... can't seem to keep up with decoding the news, let alone taking on the issue of a free press;

it's all so overwhelming, I feel like a drifter, floating on all those evil winds of change; waiting .... for Godot perhaps? J

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Al Azhar Mosque

I have just returned from a brief trip to Cairo … the land of the pharaohs, of ancient domes and minarets, beautiful buildings and the mighty Nile that courses through the land; such a pity about the pollution, the grime of centuries of unchecked dirt that clings to the intricate carvings of not only the ancient Azhar Mosque, but to all that surrounds it. It is a pity because to see these remarkable buildings in their original magnificent splendour, is surely a treat for Egyptians as well as the visitor. Let's hope a way can be found to preserve the architectural heritage of Cairo, before the elements of Mother Nature get the better of us!

And then I realized how clean Amman is, and that traffic jams are the same the world over – defined only by the way they are dealt with. The Egyptians, like the Chinese and Indians, take it all in their stride, topped off with a smile and a gentle honk of the horn. It was nice to get involved in some hustle and bustle in the old quarter of Cairo, to engage in a bit of bartering and to feel the weight of centuries of tradition breathing down your neck, as we sipped mint tea in an old coffee shop in the Khan al Khalili, where the only thing that has changed over the centuries has been the chairs!

'Through the looking glass' in
the old coffee shop in the
Khan al Khalili

The same lamps hang from the ceiling, the same mirrors on the wall … a sense of the passage of time that creates the soul you can identify with the city.

Now that is something our town planners could learn from the Egyptians! J

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

gated communities

I notice that there are many advertisements in the newspapers for the new fashion of gated communities (good revenue for the press!). Are these a plus for our country or a minus? To my way of thinking it reminds me of a sort of apartheid and will just fuel resentment of those who cannot afford this way of living. There will always be areas where the wealthy live and the poor live but to make even greater distinctions between the have and have nots seems to be a problem in the making. T

Sunday, September 17, 2006

It’s Worth a Try

I’m sure some readers noticed a few postings ago that J was searching to document a traffic jam. I wish she and her camera were with me yesterday evening. I got into bumper to bumper traffic around 6PM. It took me a half hour to get to Sports’ City Circle from the Ministry of the Interior Circle. Even the bridge coming from Jebel Hussein was backed up. There was no accident or vehicle breakdown that would have explained it; there were only two traffic policemen controlling the entrances to the Sports’ City Circle. The backup was terrific and people were honking their horns because of the unusually long wait. When I returned in the opposite direction two hours later, long after any conceivable rush hour, the traffic had still not eased. It made me wonder if this traffic jam wasn’t caused by the policemen themselves! Maybe the police should stay away from the circles. Possibly then Jordanian drivers would refresh their driving etiquette and whatever they learned about ‘right of way’ on the circles. Possibly traffic would move – albeit slowly at times – but at least move! Sorry J you missed some good photos.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Abdoun suspension bridge

I have been trying to google suspension bridges which have a curved road but cannot find any. Is there anyone who can explain to me why the Abdoun bridge is curved and not straight! T

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Walking from School

I was surprised to learn that my 10 and 12 year old grandsons walked home from school yesterday. Their father was out of town, and their mother had workers in the house and was unable to pick them up. Although the school is only a few blocks away, they have never been allowed to walk that short distance alone before. Their school is located in a ‘residential area,’ if it truly qualifies as such because there are two large companies between the school and their house. The companies’ hours are somewhat different from school hours but they pose a threat nevertheless. Employees park on both sides of the streets making visibility and movement difficult for the parents when they come to pick up their children. The boys can hardly walk on the sidewalks since the low lying branches of the trees that grow in the middle make that nearly impossible. So the best route is right down the middle of the road!

I don’t know if they will be walking to and from school from now on, but one thing is sure. They will not be tempted to dawdle on their way. They’ll get to their destination as quickly as possible in order to put down their huge back packs, which for some reason are called school bags. These bags are so crammed full of books they weigh nearly as much as the boys themselves – but that’s another subject.


Of Shakespeare and Sport

Allow me to share with you a comment from a friend of mine who lives in Irbid in the north of Jordan, she wrote:

"As of late, I can't get Shakespeare out of my head:
'As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods - they kill us for their sport.' (King Lear)
Why don' t modern-age-gods (i.e. politicians) heed this Elizabethan poet in his wisdom?"

Any clues anyone? J

A Normal Life 2

Life goes on as normal.
A new Middle East they cry from afar;
and I say a new World Order please ....
Go on, be the devil that you are
and give it a try;
You know why of course,
So don't deny humanity,
yours and mine
the test of our ultimate destiny:
... peace.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

building gone mad!

This is along Mecca Street.
Wonder who the poor person is who lost part of his house? And if he has any redress? Seems that anyone can do anything at the moment for the sake of building. T Posted by Picasa

A normal life

I spoke with a friend in England yesterday. It was nice to catch up. But then she said, "your emails are very political, can't you write something about normal life for a change". And it got me thinking; that statement about a so called 'normal life' …..

The tragedy of our humanity outside the region known as the Arab world at the moment, is that 'injustice', 'racism', 'intolerance' and 'bigotry' are accepted, overlooked, deemed inconsequential to every day notions of life. People don't seem to realize that it is not humanely possible to live here and not think about the suffering of the people of the Arab World from Palestine to Iraq to Lebanon to Afghanistan, and the impending catastrophe about to rain down on the heads of people in Iran and Syria. And all the while our friends far away sleep soundly in their beds. How can one not get frustrated, angry, mournful, and to feel your soul being torn to shreds by a situation you feel is beyond control?

That is normal!

It is also normal to empathise with a neighbour when his house is demolished by collective punishment, or when a neighbour cannot sleep at night for fear of a military raid, or when his country is deliberately reduced to rubble by foreign hegemony of a ruthless kind. Or when a neighbour's young son or daughter has become the umpteenth victim of a sniper's bullet, or a suicide bomber's death wish.

And so the rest of the washing up, the ironing, the cooking, the mothering and the occasional night out of social festivities, is the hope that keeps the pain at bay.

For the moment, I won't apportion blame until the next global general elections that will affect our destiny. It is only normal to hope that leaders who now govern with racist ideologies and absolute power that fill hearts and minds with fear, confusion, and very big lies of the 'us vs. them' kind, will soon be gone. Then I shall lead a normal life.

I suppose in the grand scheme of things I am lucky; I don't have to deal with that kind of mind control … I'm one step ahead, I only have to deal with the consequences … J

"Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter": African proverb

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

News at 10

I did not realise that JTV had brought back the News at 10 in English until I saw it this evening whilst trying to find out what was happening in Amman! Sirens everywhere this evening which was quite scary as we all wonder what could be happening. Well, did the News have anything about the building that collapsed killing two and injuring many others? The answer is no! We have to find out these things by telephoning all our friends.

Enam Ekour is probably a lovely person but her presentation of the News in English was absymal. For heaven's sake JTV get yourselves together! T

Monday, September 11, 2006

Dear Donkey

A tender moment - the white donkey however, lost his ear in a fight!

Donkey's best friend.

Healthy and happy;

Donkeys, our beasts of burden, friend and companion and an integral part of life in the Middle East - I wonder how they fared in Lebanon, or Iraq? And as for Gaza - probably starving like the rest of the population... J Posted by Picasa

Where have all the traffic jams gone??

Today I set out with husband on a mission: to find and film a traffic jam .... (why is another matter) but the forces were conspiring against us. And it began at 7.30 this morning. Cars were behaving in an orderly fashion and they were not out in their hordes by the school gate outside our front door. Oh well, never mind we'll catch the rush to work after breakfast, so off we drove, towards the nightmare on Wadi Sakra Street - and lo and behold, no cars! It was like a flashback to the 1990s. The same in Rabia, Fifth circle, Sport's City Roundabout, the Interior Ministry Circle in Jebel Hussein and we found an orderly line of non-tail-gating cars along the dual carriageway from Sport's City to the Regency Hotel - unbelievable !!! We then found NO cars on the junction between Rabia and Mecca Street (proof in the photo above) and found a mini jam that lasted all of three seconds near the Amra Hotel roundabout ... ??? ... so we gave up and went looking for donkeys in Madaba instead. And found them! Phew, that was my September 11th, how was yours? J Posted by Picasa

A Frenzy of Revenge

Unfortunately my country has done a great many things that are an embarrassment to me. The media buildup to today – September 11th – is one more example. Every article, editorial, and sound bite on TV refers in some way to this unfortunate tragedy. The victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York are only a tiny fraction of victims – world wide – who are being murdered by terrorists. Just because this attack took place in the USA does not make it more vicious or more disgusting. But today one could certainly come to the conclusion that these victims of terrorism are more deserving of tribute.

The 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington were terrorist attacks, but they did not come from nothingness. They were acts of revenge against foreign policies of the US government. And how did the US government react to the attacks? They immediately set out on a rampage of revenge against Afghanistan and Iraq. Bombing and invading other nations is the ultimate act of terrorism. They support Israel in all its terrorist policies and actions against the Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza.

I feel ashamed that we have learned nothing. I feel sad that we continue to violate our humanity. ASH


According to the Jordan News Agency (Petra) a Jordanian was the recipient of the 'military audacity medal'! This is what they called the medal that was awarded to our brave police officer who helped capture the criminal who attacked foreign tourists at the Roman theatre downtown. This medal is the highest award for courage given to a military person and has a bright green ribbon with a disc that has HM King Abdullah I on one side and the Dome of the Rock on the other. Other members of the public, including a dustman (thought they were now called refuse collectors) also got medals - well done to them all.

I often read the Petra press releases and find the English is terrible and they are supposed to be presenting Jordan's news to the English speaking world. Could they please get a new translator! T

Sunday, September 10, 2006

indicators please

I am posting the following for a frustrated friend. I agree with her sentiments. T

Am I the only person in this beloved country who uses the indicator when driving! What has the population got against telling other drivers where they are going?I risk my life daily trying to pull out onto the airport road from Deir Ghbar where the oncoming traffic can branch left just in front of me and it would save many anxious moments if the drivers would just let me know that they were exiting in front of me! What is the reason? Presumably every student is taught to indicate before their exam, but then it appears to be completely forgotten! Is it a macho thing, pure laziness or a will to die and take someone with them! Any answers gratefully received from a long term driver about to resort to road rage!


This is near the 5th Circle on Jebel Amman. It is absolutely disgusting that we, as citizens, have to put up with this unsightly rubbish which is also a health hazard. T
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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Heartening Testimonials

Monday’s attack on a group of tourists near the Roman Theater in Amman by a deranged man was shocking to say the least. One British tourist was killed and several others were injured including the Jordanian tourist policeman who was there on the scene.

With two of my four children working in the Jordan tourism industry, anything that threatens the industry, threatens their livelihood. It was therefore heartening to read the following testimonials from a group of American and Canadian journalists who are presently touring Jordan.

Hi, I just want everyone to know that on this my fifth day in Jordan I could not hope for a more hospitable and friendly country. From the wonderful experience of visiting the Royal Stables and meeting Princess Alia to walking through the unbelievable beauty of Petra where I have encountered innumerable friendly faces I cannot imagine a more perfect place to visit.

My first encounter with a Jordanian resident was on my flight to Amman. A gentleman that I spoke with only briefly upon landing asked if I had transportation to my destination and asked if he could offer me a ride to my hotel. Having prior arrangements I had to decline, but was grateful for the kind offer.

Only moments ago I was invited to have tea with a fine gentleman in Petra and was honored to be greeted so warmly and accepted the invitation. He sang greetings of welcome and made me feel as if I could come to visit at any time and that the welcome would always be the same. A new and constant friend!

I have had the opportunity to speak with many Jordanians in the past few days and have on every occasion been treated with kindness and friendliness. I have been approached in the open markets by people eager to learn of my place of residence and curious about my experience in their country. I feel fortunate to be in Jordan among such a pleasant and warm group. In spite of concerns for my safety by friends back home before my departure I feel extremely safe as I walk unescorted around the cities and the countryside, regardless of time of day or area of the city.

Having seen absolutely no signs of hostility and having been treated only with kindness and respect and can only repeat that I am most pleased to be in Jordan and look forward to the remaining days of my visit to wonderful Jordan.

With the utmost respect for my Jordanian friend - thank you all for this perfect visit.
Robert Painter
Travel Writer

Nothing I have experienced ... including the Pyramids ... compares to Petra.

Walking to the "lost city" ... lost of course only to anyone who wasn't a Bedouin) ... through the narrow high gorge of the Siq you hear the crunch of the sandstone pebbles beneath your Nikes ... it's like walking on rubies ... the breeze is velvet on my skin ... it whispers in my ear as it cools and caresses me. It says softly, "Have I got a surprise for you!"

The walls of the siq are like a multi-colored and multi-layered rose, red, orange ... even lilac ... pudding that has flowed through this passageway and then at some point in time just slowed down and went into a state of splendid suspended animation ...

... the route undulates ... the striated sandstone walls and constantly changing hues ... make for a sensual stroll that is hypnotic ... gradually I feel the breeze getting stronger ... and then it just subsides ... and we are there ... before the Treasury ...

There are no tour groups here. Guess why. But please do not over-react. Don't fall into the clutches of CNN and ilk.

Petra is immense and goes on forever but ... the largest bunny warren on the planet.

Fast forward ... even past lunch ... to the camel race. Gisele our guide challenges me saying there is no way I can make it back to the Treasury before her. I choose my camel carefully ... breath into his nostrils, whisper salaam in his ear ... he winks ... and we're off at a full camel canter. Heels down, shoulders back. Gisele whoops ... I ululate in my best camel dialect Arabic ... and we cross the finish line together. One must be diplomatic.

This is followed by a two-hour hike UP ... the sandstone trail ... and a one-hour hike down. Gisele sings a childhood song ... the acoustics are magical ... I sing La Vie en Rose ... as I did in the Roman theatre in Amman two days ago.

Gisele's cell phone rings ... she's set it to ring a delightful tune ... it's the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities with the news she doesn't need right now. Tourists attacked in the same theatre in Amman where we were two days ago.

And yet ... we have felt no threat, have been in no danger. On the contrary, we have been embraced by all the Jordanians and everyone else we have met. It's been nothing but salaams and "Where you from? Canada? Welcome Canada!"

So, please listen to and watch the news with care. This is a safe and peaceful country.

We walk back up through the Siq.

We have tea with Mohammed, a Bedouin, whose cafe is in a cave in the side of a hill. He sings a Bedouin welcome to us and serves us strong black sweet tea. We leave and he kisses each of us on both cheeks and says "Please ... you come back."

Yes of course Mohammed.

Robert Fisher
Associate Producer
Travel Talk Radio Network (

I am currently part of a group of travel writers visiting Jordan as guests of the Jordan Tourist Board. We were in Petra when the news reached us about the tragic evens in Amman. Of course my first reaction was shock, horror, and sadness at this senseless act of violence committed against innocent people, who like us were visiting this fascinating country. I was also very sorry to learn that a Tourist police guard gave his life attempting to protect the tourists under attack.

From what I have been able to learn so far, this appears to have been the action of a deranged individual, and not a politically-motivated terrorist attack. Whatever the case, I sincerely hope that it does not impact negatively on Jordan and its important tourist industry. We have been treated with nothing but the utmost courtesy, hospitality, and friendliness during our travels throughout this country. I have visited many places in the world, but I honestly cannot think of one that can rival Jordan and its people in terms of the warm, sincere welcome we have received everywhere we have gone.

In my view, this tragedy would become even worse if it were to impact negatively on Jordan as a potential travel destination. This country and its people have so much to offer visitors, from world-renowned archaeological sites like Petra and Jerash to beautiful beach resorts like Aqaba, religious sites like Mount Nebo and the Dead Sea, and modern, sophisticated cities like Amman.

Under the leadership of HM King Abdullah II, Jordan represents an oasis of peace and stability in a region otherwise marked by violence and conflict. I sincerely hope that this isolated incident will not cause people to form a negative opinion of this beautiful country and its welcoming people. For my part, I am in the middle of my first, all-too-brief trip to Jordan, but I am absolutely sure that it will not be my last.

Peter Flaherty
Director of Programming,
Travel Talk Radio Network (

I have found Jordan to be the most friendly and welcoming people. A nation that is stable and secure...Island of peace surrounded by unrest or what we at home call being near a rough neighborhood. Our trip has been one of the most organized and stable tourism infrastructures I have worked with....The overall response from the journalists and media we interact with here are treating us with enthusiasm warmth and great appreciation for coming to Jordan...It is one of the best destinations I have visited...

We plan to continue our efforts to encourage charters through tour operators in North and South America niche markets.

Roy Lowey

Producer and Host Talking Travel
Travel Talk Radio Network (

Jordan is a stable friendly country-one of the safest places on planet earth. Say no terrorism. Say no fear. Jump on the next flight to Jordan. Stop letting a few terrorists change our daily lives.

Roger Canfield, reporting live, well and safe in Jordan

Internationall Travel News

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere:

... said Martin Luther King, Jr. : 1929-1968

I am deeply troubled by the wanton murder of the British tourist in the beautiful Roman theatre in the old city centre of Amman and my heart goes out to his family. When is this spiral of violence and hatred going to end? We understand the trigger, but for this Jordanian it stewed his brains.

And until the rule of international law is applied equally within the Middle East (including Israel - because whether it likes it or not it is part of the Middle East, not Europe), there will be no justice in the world and the innocent will pay the price of the sins of apathy and silence with their lives.

William H. Beveridge wrote “Misery generates hate” in the preface to his book 'Full Employment in a Free Society' (1944) viewed as the founding manifesto of the Welfare State. But even if we look at that statement in a broader context, we can see where hate takes us in this part of the world ..... into walls of more hate, more violence, racism and intolerance - Israeli style - simply because 'injustice generates hate too'. J

Sharing a Jordanian Wedding

Yesterday I took part in the best possible celebration in Jordan, a wedding in the family. As part of the groom’s family, I went with them to Madaba to bring the bride from her father’s house. The logistics of trying to keep 15 cars together on the streets of Amman at 3PM on a Monday afternoon was beyond us. We all straggled in somewhat late to find a large group of beautifully suited men from the bride’s family milling around outside her house. My husband was the responsible uncle who must ask the bride’s uncle if she intended to go through with the marriage. His little speech went something like, “We are pleased to open another house in our family and accept your daughter as our own.” Meanwhile the women hovered near the bride while the oldest and frailest of the groom’s aunties, who had the strongest voice, sang the traditional wedding songs and chants and trilled the ‘zaghareet.’ The groom’s mother, the bride’s father, and her uncle gave her gifts of gold while many little girls, wearing hot looking satin dresses, pushed between the women straining to see. The church service and the receiving line that followed included much kissing and hugging as part of the congratulations. The kaleidoscope of color, dancing, clapping, and music at the reception enticed everyone to join in. Yesterday’s celebration was one of the nicest in recent years since my own niece from the States was with me. She was fascinated by the customs, took photos galore, and of course danced the night away. Showing my American family the unique sites of Jordan is always a thrill, but this opportunity to share a large wedding in my Jordanian family was an unsurpassed pleasure.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

rubbish on the streets

While I am on the subject of the Amman Municipality - this is the rubbish bin outside my house - just been emptied. I do not have any quarrel with the amount of collections, they seem to be quite regular. But our streets seem to be getting worse and worse. It is bad enough having human scavengers and cats but the next thing will be the rat population coming out on the streets. What is the answer I wonder? T Posted by Picasa


One of the blogs on Jordan Planet was saying that the Amman Municipality is grasping the thorny problem of bill boards which seem to adorn every available space in the streets of Amman - so ugly and badly maintained. Of course all the advertisers are screaming about loss of revenue, jobs etc but I do hope the Municipality does not succumb to pressure, as they really must get rid of most of them. T

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Half a Truth is Often a Great Lie

.... said Benjamin Franklin.

And I thought of all the speeches of The Bush-Blair Conspiracy and their political hijacking of our humanity. And I keep asking 'why has it come to this' as I prepare to attend a wedding, sort out my kids for school and university, blog and do other everyday things, but I am finding it harder and harder to laugh and my garden has been reclaimed by mother nature. War is coming. And in the meantime, people are dying daily from the sniper's bullet in Baghdad or mafiosa hitmen of the IDF in Ramallah, Nablus and Gaza - but that is all happening in occupied territory, Iraq and Palestine, and therefore it doesn't count, no justice for those victims. And I havn't even started on Afghanistan yet.

My husband keeps a smile on his face and humour in his thoughts; his way of dealing with the sad, mad situation. 'Well, war might save me from the pains of arthritis or colon cancer or senile dementia' .... and that broke the spell!

The previous blog raises an important issue in our part of the world, that of religious tolerance - hanging on by a thread:,,1863335,00.html

And lest we forget, "The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly... it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over." And so said Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Minister.

Friday, September 01, 2006

call to prayer and church bells

Yesterday I went to a Muslim wedding and today a Christian one, with friends of both religions enjoying the happiness of the newly wedded couples.

The call to prayer from the mosques and the bells ringing from the churches are familiar sounds to us all here. T