Monday, June 23, 2008

Getting in JORDAN a soccer game

I wasn't looking forward to coming to Jordan this summer. My program was supposed to be in Yemen, which I was much more excited about, partly because nobody speaks English there, making it a better place to study Arabic, and partly because it has a reputation as the Wild West of the Arab world--one guidebook my roommate read summed up the country as suffering from "general lawlessness."

Unfortunately, what with mortar fire on the embassy compounds and all, the U.S. government recently decreed Yemen as far too unsafe a place to send a bunch of students, and so my program was moved to Jordan, which is considered safe.

(I told the Yemeni shopkeeper down the street that I couldn't go to Yemen because it wasn't safe and he said, "What?!? Of course Yemen is safe! Do you know why? Because everybody owns a gun. Hell, everybody owns three!" General lawlessness, indeed.)

So Jordan was a definite second choice, plus I was dreading the planned structure of the program: five hours of class in morning, plus three hours of optional tutoring, plus three hours of mandatory tutoring. That, frankly, sounds like a drag: why even bother to fly halfway around the world just to sit in a classroom all day?

On arriving, though, we learned that the program had been changed, and we now have two hours of class in the morning, and then are left, for the rest of the day, free to explore, adventure, study, and practice. This means that my life is, as far as I can tell, ideal: yesterday I went to class, went out to lunch, studied vocabulary in a hip cafe in downtown Amman, went to a soccer game, Jordan versus Turkmenistan, went out to dinner, and then stayed up late watching the European Cup Spain vs. Italy match at a trendy bar where all my friends smoked sheesha.

So life is good. I think, now, that the following picture best sums up how I feel right now about being in Jordan:



Pinto said...

If I didn't think you were one of the coolest people to walk the planet, I'd threaten to stop reading your blog out of jealousy.

Ginsberg said...

And turns out Spain actually won that match on penalty kicks--quite a reversal of fortune for the Spaniards--the Chicago Cubs of international soccer. Arriba Espana!

Petra said...


I HATE it when games end on penalty kicks; I was cheering for Spain (because I'm still bitter at Italy for defeating France in the 2006 World Cup, plus they're a bunch of whining, cheating pussies) but was still disappointed with the match.

LNA said...

We “me and family” made a trip to Petra in Jordan in April 2007. it was a piece of art and  fabulous.

We flew from Berlin to Amman- Jordan. We traveled at modern buses with a guide/driver.

Our route was Amman, Jerash, Ajloun , Petra , Dead Sea.

On the way we experienced architectural, archaeological, historical and cultural places: noble mosques, interesting museums, ancient castle, unique ruins, stone paths, the lowest point on earth with mineral salty water at Dead sea. Also we went to see how nomads live in their tents.


Before our trip we got a lot of warnings and surprising comments on Jordanians' hostility toward Westerners. Anyhow in every city, town and village we felt ourselves very welcome and every person was polite and hospitable to us.

Our guide was the best possible guide. His knowledge of Jordan, the past and the present is enormous and his driving style is convincing, A trip with him was like a trip with a friend not with a formal guide.

From my experience, is one of the best tours at Jordan where all you may need and ask on one place.  
Hans Herrman

Kaneeneenie said...

We "me and family" think your life is awesome, Petra. It is a piece of art and fabulous.

We thank you for sharing it with us.