Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day One: Amman

The boss and I arrived in Jordan and at that point, I have no idea what time it was local. Somewhere along the way, I failed to realize that Jordan and Vienna are in different time zones and thought the flight from Vienna to Jordan was going to be like six hours (based on arrival time), but instead, it was about three.

We were, of course, immediately presented with confusing lines. You are not traveling internationally if you haven't been presented with a queue you don't know what to do with. The boss and I got into a line for visas and it dawned on us both that we hadn't really prepared for this trip.

"Do you know how much the visa costs?
"Nope."
"Me either."
"Do you think they take USD?"
"Sure, why not?"
"Is it strange that they didn't have us fill out any forms on the plane?"
"Who knows?"

We weren't in line too long when the consensus came that we in fact needed to pay for the visa in Jordanian dinar (JOD). So we left the line to go to the money changer, still not sure what the cost of the visa was and also unsure what the exchange rate was.

While the boss was still in line for the money exchange, I braved the toilet. Other than a brief queuing issue in which I failed to signal my intent to use an available stall when it came open by standing as close to it as humanly possible (I was standing off at an American distance forming what I thought was a queue and what that woman clearly thought was some sort of weird hobby of hanging out in bathrooms).

Next up, the boss and I got in line for the visas again, only to have two women immediately step in front of us. I was back on my queue A game at that point and refused to give in, standing right next to the woman and inching my way forward trying to insert myself back in. In the end I failed, and they successfully cut us.

We were picked up by one of our summer program students from the past summer. He is studying to become a civil engineer in Amman. His GPS was providing directions to the hotel that either (1) asked him to do impossible things (In one meter, take a sharp left. What, into that concrete barricade?) or (2) that he seemed to be comfortable ignoring. Once we reached the city and were stopped at a light, he announced it was time to use the old-fashioned GPS and leaned out his window to get directions from the driver next to us.

Once at the hotel, it was time for a much needed shower and then off to find some dinner. We immediately discovered we were in some sort of expat area. The first sit-down restaurant we came to was, I shit you not, a Buffalo Wild Wings. Ok, I shit you a little. It was a Buffalo Wings and Rings and had the color theme of bee-dubs. After walking for a little too long, we gave in and went to an expat cafe. I had chicken on a stick with some veggies (and I am pretty sure a vat of mayonnaise on the side). Luckily, we will have the opportunity to eat real Jordanian food tomorrow.

More later.

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