Because we don’t go on group trips of the “One of the Modern Wonders of the World” variety every weekend, it’s up to us to find things to do on the off days. Our advisors send us weekly updates with things to do around town and we’re constantly searching Trip Advisor and Google for ideas. Most of the time, our outings involve food. Or more specifically, ice cream.
On the surface, Amman is sandy. Dust-covered buildings are stacked on top of each other and broken sidewalks wrap around stores hidden in the walls. We’ve found markets and shops with rows and rows of jewelry, coffee shops about every 10 feet (Thank GOD), and Roman ruins.
It’s so interesting to see the juxtaposition (I know….English major word) of ancient and modern. Whenever I talk to people who live in Amman I tell them Amman isn’t what I expected. They usually reply with something like, “What? We’re not riding on camels everywhere?” Which is a fair response and being from Nebraska, I empathize with (we don’t drive covered wagons everywhere and we do indeed have electricity), but I think what I mean when I express my surprise is that I wasn’t expecting thousands of years old monuments to stand so prominently in the middle of modern hustle and bustle. It’s a shock to be wandering through Ray-Ban stands and liquor stores and suddenly come across the Nymphaeum or the Citadel-still there after years of destruction, industry, and change.
Amman is not without it’s artists, and hipsters. Before I left I expressed my worry about not being able to feed by coffee-addiction. But I had nothing to worry about. It’s almost impossible to go anywhere without seeing a swarm of coffee shops and cafes. There’s not a ton of alcohol here, and when there is, it’s taxed like crazy. So in spaces that would usually hold a bar instead have juice, espresso, and Nescafe. Oh my gosh do Jordanians love their Nescafe. One of the most iconic cafes is called Books@Cafe, which is considered a refuge and place for Amman’s gay community to hang out. The website says,
“The original books@cafe in Jabal Amman is one of Jordan’s most iconic and
revolutionary establishments. Opening its doors in May 1997, books@cafe was the
first internet café in the Middle East cultivating a reputation for liberating the local
cultures and intellect while promoting peace, equality and tolerance.”
Also, in an event of serendipity, my roommates and I were walking around Rainbow street one morning and a guy approached us asking if we wanted to be in his video.
Me: Uh…sure. Ok.
*awkward standing around for 20 minutes*
Me: So…what is this about?
Guy: It’s the teaser for a taco restaraunt!
This should have been obvious to us when two other guys put on plastic ponchos and tiny sombreros.
We went to the opening and upon arrival, the owner saw my roommate and yelled “The real Mexican is here!” Needless to say she was thrilled. And we got free tacos, which were delicious.
But we didn’t totally understand the theme, which was a subway and all the employees were dressed like engineers.
Until next time!