Key Club

After making it home from Wadi Hasa the week before last Paco, Katrina, and I shoveled the contents of the car into our arms and started for my apartment. At the door I dug through my bags to find the keys to my apartment and realized they weren’t there. Katrina reminded me we put them in the glove box for the hike, so I went back to the car still carrying my stuff. I opened the car, set down a couple of things, grabbed the house keys, and locked the door. Then I rifled through my stuff and realized that I was missing my keys again, but this time my car keys. I went back to the Sunny, wiped a circle of dust off the passenger window and peaked onto the seat where my car keys were sitting.
I cursed myself a couple of times mostly because I knew I was going to have to call Ghazi at Diplomat Rental Car and tell him I locked my keys in my car, again. The first time I did it I walked around a mile to the Chili’s on Mecca Street and got a virgin margarita in a sugar rimmed glass. Ghazi picked me up at Chili’s drove me to my car and told me to use my key to lock the car door from the outside to prevent this from happening again. I told him I would do so diligently from then on and then didn’t. Ghazi also gave me a small card and told me that the next time anything happened I should call the number on the card and someone would come to help, Arab AAA I thought to myself. This time around since I had my house keys and was home I decided to deal with it in the morning.
At around 11am the next morning I pulled out my trusty Jordanian AAA card and dialed the number. I told the guy on the other end that I locked my keys in my car and that I lived in Abdali between the Mosque and the Church. He told me to write down a number and call it. This next guy spoke less English and I gave him the same story. He said, “okay, someone call you in five minutes.” Thirty seconds passed and someone called. This guy started rattling off in Arabic without pause, I cut him off briefly and said slowly, “Do you speak English?” He replied to my question without without a breath– “NO!” I started to laugh and he did too. He went on in Arabic for a while longer and then hung up. A few minutes later another guy called, he spoke English well and kept calling me “Boss” and “Chief,” I liked him. He asked me what was wrong and where I was. “I locked my keys in my car, I’m in Abdali between the Mosque and the Church.” Everytime I repeated this the person on the other end appeared to know what I was talking about, I talked to around six different people in the span of fifteen minutes. The Chief guy called me again and said, “okay Boss, someone will be there in five minutes.”

Another Day, Another Dinar

Greetings from the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom. It’s been a good fortnight over here and I’ll share a bit.

I’ve been working quite a bit lately, which I like. With little experience with green building, the various regional and international standards, and technical & political aspects of this process I’m learning a great deal. I’m in the midst of bringing together the component parts of a document which will, inshala, be the first draft of a comprehensive Jordanian regional standard for green building. Water and Energy are the two most important aspects as Jordan is one of the poorest water states in the world and they import over 95% of their energy. By the way ‘inshala’ translates more or less to ‘god willing.’ People say it all the time and a lot of times it just means it’s not going to happen- kind of like when you were a kid and you would ask your mom if you could get ice cream after going to the grocery store and she’d say “we’ll see.”
A few weeks back I drove up Pella to hike up through some ancient ruins. At the foot of a group of columns I met a shepherd, who kept telling me he was a shepherd, with a handkerchief full of Greek, Roman, and Byzanntine coins that he wanted to sell me.
The hike was hot and dry with steady elevation climb. The view to the west overlooking the ruins, Jordan River Valley farmland, and across that all important imaginary line was spectacular.
I included this picture with me in it because a) I like it and b) I know it will make Gonch roll his eyes which Malcolm Gladwell tells us is the tell tale sign that a marriage won’t work.
So the food is good here–> my chickpea consumption is through the roof and there’s no end in sight. I also regularly visit the sharwarma (arab burrito) stand.
Paco and I saw them bringing a fresh, plastic wrapped, meat punching bag to the back burner rotisserie a couple of weeks back. It took four guys to carry and you should have seen the way that thing parted the crowd waiting out front. I tried to take of picture of the meat Moses but it didn’t turn out.