Deb in Amman 2013 – 6
Last night I was absolutely exhausted, so I slept late this morning. Actually, I didn’t set up a wake up call because the phone they gave me (which I have yet to use…) already had an alarm. However, it didn’t go off and I woke up to housekeeping knocking on the door.
Since it was past 9, I dressed quickly and went down to breakfast. I ended up sitting next to an American woman whom I had noticed at breakfast almost every morning, usually with another woman. Today, she was alone and came to sit at the table next to me.
We got to chatting and I learned that she works for the US government screening refugees for immigration eligibility. She travels all around the world. I asked her what would make a refugee ineligible for immigration and she told me either being associated with a terror group or a group responsible for torture, or being a criminal. I asked her if people typically volunteer that information and she smiled. Some do, but her group does very thorough background checks.
I commented that this must be very distressing work and she agreed that it was difficult to hear about the atrocities that drove people into leaving their countries. However, she felt good that she was helping them. She was here with a team of 6 others and had been here for 6 weeks.
On Wednesday, she is going to Vienna, which will be her first visit. She’s been to most of the Gulf and Near East countries, most of the African countries and South America. After Vienna, she is looking forward to going to Cuba, because she speaks Spanish.
She also had a cold and a very bad cough, so she was the only person from her delegation who was staying at the hotel this weekend. The rest of the group had gone to the Dead Sea. She said that she was looking forward to going to Vienna because she would get a three-day weekend there.
She was eating a very hearty breakfast, including bacon. She was surprised that the hotel served it (I had been, as well) because the prevailing religion forbids it. She imagined that it was possible the owners of this hotel were Christian or simply good business people.
We made plans to go to dinner at Whispers, a restaurant that Rama had recommended that is very close by. Then I went back to my room, where I found the young man who is a housekeeper was not finished. I went down to the lobby and was able to sit on one of the comfortable couches next to a waterfall wall fountain and read for a while.
When I got back to my room, he was still there- and I really needed the bathroom. So he grabbed his stuff and left. I realized later that he had lovingly laid out all of my makeup on a towel and also folded all of the clothing items I had laying on top of a counter inside the closet near the bags for laundry. I have been leaving a nice tip every day (5 JOD which is probably close to 8 USD) so it was gratifying to see that it was appreciated.
I started to read, then decided to take a shower (I hadn’t the night before because I was so exhausted), washed some clothing (using shampoo, which my globe-trotting friend Joan had taught me) and then realized I was still tired and needed to sleep. The front desk was somewhat surprised when I called down to get a 4 p.m. wake up call.
When I woke up, I realized that I still was exhausted and had no appetite. I only knew Julianne’s first name, that she was here with a US delegation and that she was leaving on Wednesday. By golly, reception was able to figure out who she was and connect me with her room! I called her to beg off our dinner date and she was very gracious. Perhaps we can go somewhere tomorrow evening.
On one hand, I feel badly that I haven’t gotten out to explore. On the other hand, I realize that the last time I was here, I spent many days in the PAP office writing curriculum. As a result, I had time and energy after my workday. I was also here much longer.
I hope that tomorrow will be as nice as today so I can get out and explore. After all, I will be celebrating my 65th birthday tomorrow.
By the way, I forgot to mention that I finally was able to upload the Fayrouz music CD that Diala gave me (it took two hours for some unknown reason). I played it on the third and fourth day and everyone, including the hotel staff, told me how much they liked it.