Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Feb 27 2013

Middle East trip, conclusion

I ate as many of the donuts Salim bought for breakfast the morning of our last day in the region as I could. There were traffic jams on the way to Muscat airport, but I suspect Salim’s connections might have been in play as we saw police stopping traffic at opportune moments for us to get through in plenty of time for our flight, though the people at the airline desk really didn’t seem to know what they were doing. Salim and Ahmed bumped noses with us and shook hands with the women in our group, and they stood waving at the door as we crossed the security stage.

Back in Amman, we had to get landing visas to enter the country, or else hang out at the airport hotel under guard, but although Basem and Fahed met us at the airport, for some reason the group decided to go to the hotel and then decide if we wanted visas. This meant going to the hotel, deciding that (of course) we wanted visas, then going back to the airport to get them, and then waiting for Basem to come back. By this time it was nearly night, and we could have watched a brilliant moonrise over the old city from the Royal Gardens and the mosque there. Alas, everything we do as a group on this trip simply takes forever so by the time we made it to the park it was dark and cold. Still, it was good to chat with our Jordanian friends again and see the city a bit more. The dry air took me by surprise after Oman, which is relatively humid I guess. My nose and throat really felt the dry, dusty air in Jordan the whole time I was there.

Mohammed showed up and took us to a coffee/hookah shop he visits every day, and we had drinks. I had a kind of thick milk with cinnamon, leading Fahed to say I was “a real Jordanian now”.

“You guys might want to rethink your immigration procedures,” I said, sipping the delicious hot liquid.

The free hotel rooms included a free dinner at “The Golden Tulip”, which we enjoyed after Basem and the others dropped us off and bade us farewell. We showered and napped until it was time to go check in again. We were shooed away from the gate entrance by a guard who indicated that the people in nearby seats were actually in some form of line. It didn’t matter, but it made me think that, even when the grand new airport goes into operation, they’d better retrain everyone there, or everyone will still think it a dinky little airport just from their mindset.

I have been very impressed, however, with the cabin crews of Royal Jordanian Airlines; I thought at first it was a fluke, but each time I’ve flown with them on this trip they’ve been polite, accommodating and even funny. They must have good training, too, because it seems to me that many passengers tend to not bother with petty things like rules about seat backs, seat belts, or even seats much of the time. In any case, I took the equivalent of a Nyquil and dosed all the way to Bangkok, then to Hong Kong, by which time my ears were failing to pop each time we descended, most likely due to the combination of the dry air and Ahmed’s cold. By the time we landed in Taoyuan my head was a mess. I think I might have broken something in there in my attempts to try and equalize the pressure by pinching my nose and blowing.

Anyway, that’s our trip. I enjoyed both Jordan and Oman and took quite a bit of video. I didn’t take many photos, due to the size of our group, our itinerary, our gracious hosts’ plans, and a general lack of space, both mental and physical, in which to take pictures, but I would like to visit again some day by myself or at least with a smaller group, and do some wandering in both places. Then we’ll see.

posted by Poagao at 10:21 pm  

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment