After a long flight all day Friday, June 25 I landed in Amman. I had Saturday to get ready for the workshop so I met with the hotel events person and toured the facilities where we would be meeting. Not too exciting. Right away I was surprised with the amount of people who smoked and the fact that all public buildings seemed open to smoking. I am so happy to be able to breath clean air again.
The hotel was really nice, I believe it's a 4 star hotel. My room was pretty nice. There were two beds that were bigger than twin size, but smaller than a full. The tv had all sorts of stations from all over the world. I was excited to see they had two stations in Italian but one just had psychics on there and the other was fashion tv, which is interesting for a little bit. They had plenty of Arabic music videos which reminded me of those on the Indian MTV I watched in Nepal. No kissing, but very passionate glances.
I didn't know anyone at the hotel so I went to this Jungle Cafe across the street for dinner by myself. They serve mostly sandwiches and pizza so it was tough getting gluten free food, but the woman was really helpful and we worked it out. The lemonade with fresh mint is very popular there and very tasty. I highly recommend it if you are burdened with lots of fast growing mint.
Sunday we had the workshop all day and then I went to a Lebanese restaurant for dinner with a guy who works for my company but in Oregon along with a Swedish guy. They had the best meat I've ever had at a Lebanese restaurant. It had that nice smokey flavor you get when it's barbecued. Everything was really good.
On Monday I went this touristy traditional Jordanian restaurant with the Americans/Europeans at the workshop. We ate pretty much the same thing we did the night before but we did it sitting really low to the ground with hookah guys running around setting up hookahs for people. The food was delicious and we also celebrated the birthday of one of the people in the group.
On Tuesday we just had an informal meeting in the morning and I wrapped up all the financial things I was there to do. I also went and visited a project that I work on there. It was nice to finally meet the people I email all the time. After I returned from my short meeting I went with some of the workshop participants to downtown Amman to try and find some souvenirs.
There were like 2 souvenir shops in the midst of all the clothes and food shops. There were an unusual amount of shops selling men's underwear which I thought was interesting. Since I wasn't interested in the robe dresses the women wear there or a huge chunk of raw meat it was hard to find something I wanted. I did get a couple jewelry type boxes and a key chain for my in laws. I also bought a little bowl at the airport.
It was a short busy trip and I didn't get to see any of the neat touristy places like Petra, but it was interesting to see another culture and the way people live. I even saw a guy with a camel on the side of the road on my way to the hotel from the airport. It was worth it just for that!