Sunday, July 11, 2010


I can only remember my first days in Fez because
a) they were ridiculous
b) I started writing from day one.

Amman Street fashion: I can't say I'm impressed with anything so far except for the widespread meticulous attention to personal hygiene. We were told at orientation to "try not to be weird." I don't think this rang any alarm bells in anyone except me, judging from the lack of darting, shifty eyes.

It's always fun to see other people's first impressions of a city that you love. I don't think I was ever outright mean to anyone who looked like they did not love Tangier enough, but I probably had little respect for them. Here in Amman I have a newfound appreciation for these pitiful wanderers, especially after taking up this new project of "trying not to be weird."

Upon embarking on an unfamiliar place, like a new house or the nursing home your son is about to commit you to, they say to have a list of questions prepared. I have local resources here, but no idea what to ask these gems. This is why I will never succeed in journalism. I never know where to start. Aren't you supposed to start from the beginning? Same reason I failed at philosophy. How could I read Derrida if I hadn't read Heidegger if I hadn't read Hegel etc. In the end I had to assume Derrida was the origin of what I believed about literary theory. Funny, because in the end, even that bastard didn't believe in origins.
In its own language, a lack of a beginning only served to reinforce my faith in God.

Given my penchant for origins, I figured I would start at wst-al-medina. or at least that's what I heard the taxi driver call it (city center?). There are tons of western-style cafes with beautiful Jordanian girls with tatoos on their forheads saying "don't even think about trying to find a husband in this country srsly you don't even have your nails done."

I now know that this must be one of my many random gaps in common knowledge, but hijabis smoke sheesha in Jordan. The most baffling thing about this to me is the combination of smoke and fruit. How can so many people enjoy this ridiculously habit? Maybe this is how atheists feel about us God-fearing believers. Or like how I feel about people that listen to the Pixies.

There are ashtrays everywhere but it appears men go out of their way to smoke only where there are no ashtrays. Like the very small enclosed places where I buy my batteries. And we all go home smelling like fruity smoke. It's a lose-lose.

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