Exploring Amman

by: Tashi Phuntsho

With arrival of the final cohort of students in Amman today, the student project group team is now complete and everyone is enthusiastically looking forward to the refugee camp visit tomorrow, and the two day workshop with the UNRWA officials scheduled in the following days. But to make the most out of the free time today, the entire project group took a guided city tour led by our classmate Ms. Dana Khamis, who may not be an authorized tour guide, but is a native of the city and has lived her entire life there.

The city tour started with an authentic Jordanian breakfast in Jaffra Restaurant at 11:00 AM — yeah pretty strange that we had breakfast at 11:00 AM. But considering the location of our residences, which are at the two ends of Amman (which is apparently bigger than Berlin in terms of size) and the city being absolutely new to us posed a challenge for us to coordinate and meet in the restaurant on time, but it was an adventure and the delay in breakfast time made us hungry, making sure that we did not waste any food that we ordered. The city of course is not as organized and clean like Erfurt but the disorganized nature of city and the chaos has its own charm and uniqueness.

We walked along Amman’s famous Rainbow Street where some of us bought souvenirs at a good price; Dana’s bargaining skills worked wonders. We visited the glorious ancient mosque and read about its historical past and understood its present importance; the prayer in the loudspeaker that muted the noisy street noise was enchanting and in that moment invoked a feeling of serenity. We sat in the seats of the magnificent ancient Roman theatre that was built many hundreds of years ago, but still to this day hosts orchestra concerts and plays. The open market that sold vegetables and spices was as crowded as we could imagine, but the freshness of the product on sale and the call of the seller with the tune of a song to attract customers was mesmerizing. We climbed uphill to visit the Citadel, it was very exhausting, but had we not made that effort we would have missed the most beautiful bird’s eye view of the entire city of Amman.

We strolled around the city until we got tired and hungry again, then we headed to Dana’s house and relished the delicious Jordanian cuisine that was waiting for us. Quite a day it was!