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In transit….

March 4, 2013
After the fun of getting to the Sydney airport, the “problems” in Amman were relatively few. Mainly of my own making, because the sheet which had my hotel address info on it, I decided to leave in Brisbane (in hopefully the only organisational failure of my trip). So I have to ask the taxi driver at Amman airport to take me to the Palace Hotel in Amman. He nods and we begin haggling for price. Now my friend had a few days earlier taken the same trip for 22 dinars. Old mate taxi driver insists on 30, I offer him 25, he insists, I desperately want to get to hotel room and have shower, so I just agree to 30 and go. Of course, I go to the wrong Palace Hotel. Though it’s like ten am, I feel like it might be much later thanks to my body clock being skewed way out. He drops me off at Amman Palace Hotel, I go in and of course I want the PALCE Hotel in AMMAN. Cool. But the woman on the desk of the Amman Palace Hotel was so good. She let me use her computer to find the address of the other palace, then gives me walking directions (that turned out to be pretty darn accurate). As I walk along, foolishly following the tourist sign posts (which are pretty darn INaccurate by the way) I get lost. I ask random people in the street, someone waves over an English speaker (remember I don’t know a word of Arabic) and I get there in the end after an impromptu walking tour of central Amman.
 
Then I shower and head down for an infamous local coffee. The caferteria guy refuses my ten dinar (which I knew was way too massive, but didn’t know what else to do about it) but gives me a coffee anyway, probably because I bounce a few Arabic sorrys and pleases off of him, but mainly I think he was a decent bloke who saw a man in need of caffeine. 
 
I guess what I think out of all this is that i consider myself a pretty open minded guy, but coming to the Middle East, I realised even I had some expectations about women being all quiet and submissive, arrogant men etc when they are just incredibly easy going people (so far). The other things is, what if the situation was reversed? What if an Arab speaking tourist who knew no english went walking up and down the streets of Sydney? How many free coffees would he get and how many times might he just get slapped?
 
I’m glad, in one way at least, that I forgot that sheet. I got to see a side of Amman you might not get to with everything meticulously planned out.
 
Peace.
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