Saturday, December 15, 2012

Amman: the city with too many faces

My stay in Amman comes to an end soon. The day that first seemed far away is near. Almost a year since I stepped into this country with two bags and one tear I refused to shed. And yet, now that the day has come, something is drawing me to stay... a bit longer. How can I suddenly get attached to the city that I hated at first sight? What made me say I leave next month when I had the choice to say now, tomorrow, or simply next week? When the words came out of my mouth, they just seemed the right thing to say, as if I needed time to bid this city farewell, the city where extreme seems to be the adjective to everything;

Where sweets are too sweet and summers too hot; where the sea is too salty and the waiters too rude; where restaurants are too smoky and women too fake; where alcohol is too expensive and excessively consumed; where deliveries take too long. The city where women wear too much makeup and men too much perfume; where houses are too white and bridges too gray; where everywhere looks exactly the same.

The city with no color has a street named 'Rainbow'.

The city where drivers respect circles but not fellow drivers; Where they drive too fast, talk too fast and think too slow; The city where the people take pride in their clean streets but turn a blind eye to the filth of their politicians, where the features of a king and a queen and a teenage boy seem more familiar than those of their own mothers, fathers, and children. This city where ugliness stares you in the face, yet beauty crawls from around hidden corners.

The city where all roads take you to the old town.

The city where people dance a little and talk too much, dress a little and dress too much, party a little and smoke too much; where someone opened a liquor store in front of a mosque; The city where sexy lesbian prostitutes with Arab looks dance to stoned men in a nightclub where cocktails are not served and where music sucks, where outside a beggar boy watches drunk teenagers make out in the trunk of a jeep, where the bouncer wouldn't let you in because he misspelled your name when you made the reservation, where you realize after a few weeks that your name is never on the list and that if you do not reserve and lie, there is high chance you will get in. The city where the currency is overvalued and life cheap. Where workers work too much and are paid a little, where the rich are too rich and the poor too poor. The city where there are too many bookstores and too few books; the city where the young generation thinks change is too early and the older too late.

The city where more than half the population has two identities.

The city that made me an extremist; turned me into a racist; the city where I had a fight with every waiter, every taxi driver, every driver, later, even before they did anything. The city that made me a workaholic; this is the city where I had the best burger in my life and the worst night in my life; where I woke up too early to watch the sunrise; where I hated too much and loved too much.

The city where I wanted to take self defense classes but instead learned to cook and play the guitar.

The city that has nothing to export but dust; the city with too many roundabouts and too few smiles.

The city I hated at first sight, and as I am about to leave it, I got used to it.

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