08 September 2006

Greetings from Amman

I made it. All in all, the flight was pretty good. I took Royal Jordanian from Chicago to Amman. By the time I got on the plane in Chicago, I'd been traveling 8 hours. That stupid O'Hare air port didn't help anything. I had to take a train to a different terminal and stand in line to get my boarding pass. I was the last one in line, and no one got behind me. I was worried since I had only one hour between arriving in Chicago and departing. Luckily RJ is on Jordan-Time, and everyone in line was late like me. People began feeding me and offering me coffee. Those people saved my life. Chicago had only one security line for the entire international terminal. I mean, one conveyor belt, and 3 dudes. I mean: one f-ing line. We RAN to the gate, and I was pleased to see that I got an isle seat even after checking in late. Good luck further visited me as me and my row mate had four seats to ourselves. Yea! Surprisingly, RJ did have booze, but the only beer was Amstel. No pork. They have a funny thing on the flight monitor that tracks the progress of the plane. I can only call it a cube monitor. It's like a compass that lets us know what direction Mecca was in at all times. The most hilarious part of the flight was when the guy came down the isle, or attempted to, really, with the duty-free trolley, which was nothing but an unstable tower of cigarettes. He was out by the fifth row much to the consternation of those in rows 6 and up. At one point people just started to raid the thing as he stood there totally unalarmed. By the end of the flight, he just walked around with a sheet of paper and people told him what they'd pinched, and paid him. Classic Jordan!
The fellow who sat next to me is going to get his US citizenship next year, and he lives in Houston with his American wife who talks funny, and boy does he do a perfect Texan accent. We had a long chat about every thing, and when I told him I'm here to learn the language he said to me, "Iz goin' to be a verry de-ficult yr, Arabie iz hartt!" But he was actually very encouraging. He has family here, and he gave me his number (he'll be here for one month) and said that I can probably stay with his family. He encouraged this since it would be best for me to live with Arabic speakers to really learn this language. His funniest language story: As you know there is no "P" in Arabic, and some Arabic speakers have trouble differentiating between the P and the B in English. His faux pas came when his wife took him to her church and he was introduced to several people, and finally asked one if he was "the bastard of the church." As opposed to "pastor". Damn, English sucks.
It's almost 8 at night here. I was so dazed after 24 hours in a dark plane I thought it was early morning when I came out the airport and saw the sun on the horizon. But, then it disappeared!


Blogger weeping sore said...

Glad you made it! Your observations of cultural differences (in line, on plane) illustrate more than the known fact that you've got a good eye to observe. Your descriptions also show that there's a glint of good anthropological humor behind those eyes.

8:42 PM  
Blogger kathrynzano said...

Frances! Yay, you are there, safe!! I miss you terribly already. It's funny how I managed to be a pillar of stoicism when we said goodbye on Monday, but then I bawled ceaselessly in the car on the way home. Yeesh. I am so glad you made it without losing limbs or sanity. I was told by K that you would have a middle seat on the RJ flight crunched in by strangers. I'm relieved that it turned out better!

K and I ate at Mama's yesterday and thought longingly of you.

I love you-- K (the other one)

8:52 PM  

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