Sunday, September 26, 2010

Our First Road Trip

Here is what I've been told about Arab culture: they don't like to disappoint. So, for example, if you ask someone for directions, they will give you directions, regardless of whether they know how to get where you want to go. This, not to be mean, but because they don't want to disappoint you.

So, just by way of example, let's imagine you were waiting for your car to arrive. They might tell you it is here, in Amman, just so you will be happy. They will tell you this, week after week, as you happily await the imminent arrival of the vehicle. But it never arrives. You will eventually find out it is not in Amman. It is still in Aqaba. But okay, they'll tell you, this is not a problem. The car will arrive by Monday, Tuesday at the latest. You will be happy. They will be happy. Everyone will be happy.

Until Wednesday. When you still have no car.

But it's okay, they will tell you, because your car will definitely, certainly, cross their heart be here by Sunday. For sure. You are happy. They are happy. Everyone is happy.

As I type this, it is Sunday night. And do you think we got our car today?

(It's okay, I can wait while you ponder this...)

You are correct. We did not get our car.

But that's okay, because they told me we'll get it tomorrow.

Even though it is still tied up in customs.

Probably still in Aqaba.

But tomorrow. It will definitely be parked in my driveway tomorrow.

This past weekend, we took matters into our own hands and hired a man with a van to drive us 45 minutes north to Jerash. It's an old Roman city: the signs say it was built in 129 AD, which, as I told the kids, is like 129 years before Christ was born. Yes, that's right, I told them it was before Christ was born. BC, AD, whatevs. It's really, really, old, okay? That's all they needed to know.

Shay took most of the pictures. And if the kids look cheerful in the photos, well, it just goes to show what a great photographer he is. Actually, they whined their way through the first half of the site, which was too hot and too boring, unless you count their chance encounter with their school buddies, Mohammed and Yousef. That part was okay. Other than that, it was pretty much hot and boring the whole way up.

Once we got to the top, we gulped about 200 bottles of water and pointed our noses back downhill. At that point, they became positively giddy, and the return trip through the site was actually a lot of fun.

I'm glad we didn't wait to get our car. It was nice to get out and see something. Not as nice as it'll be when we finally see our car parked in our driveway, but, you know...


hannah said... [Reply]

I love the photos! Man I miss Jordan. How hot is it there now? Umm Qais up north is really fun - you can eat at the cafe above the Roman ruins and watch the sun set over Tiberias and the IDF jeeps crawling over the Golan Heights one ridge over.

A Daring Adventure said... [Reply]

First of all, I just couldn't help noticing - the children's little pink, flushed faces- gosh it must be SO hot there. SO HOT.

Second of all, I very, very much hope that your car gets there tomorrow. I am very curious, as I know we will have to wait a long time for ours - how have you coped with not having a car all this time? How have you, I don't know, shopped for groceries and such? I just can't even imagine.

Sara said... [Reply]

Donna, you look amazing!

I understand the need to get out before the car gets there. Ours took three months, and after we used up all our rides from other people we stuffed our family into a cab to get to parties so we could get out of the house.

Jen Ambrose said... [Reply]

Now, these are incredible pictures! Roman ruins!! Myles would have been beside himself!

Emily said... [Reply]

What a great adventure. I love the pictures.

I hope that your car gets there soon, and you will have a little more independence.

Donna said... [Reply]

Hey Daring -

Taxis are cheap, but just not really convenient. It's not fun to stand on a busy street corner with 4 small, bouncy kids, waiting for a taxi to stop. And once you're in, they usually don't speak English, and they never have seatbelts.

Neighbors are the lifeline. Connie (Whale Ears) has been taking me to the big grocery store when she goes, so I don't have to haul big loads of food on foot. Other neighbors have taken us to and from the Embassy, the school, soccer practice... I owe a lot of people a lot of cookies at this point.

In Beijing, I took the newcomers around when I could. It's a boomerang - you take care of the people around you when you can, and you trust that when you ask for help in a new place, neighbors will step up.

As long as you aren't afraid to ask for help, you'll usually find it.

Donna said... [Reply]

@ Hannah -

I've heard all good about Umm Qais. Now - to get the darned car!We have lots of exploring to do.

Just US said... [Reply]

Glad to know we have company in the "today" mentality! We are supposed to get one shipment today but my thought is that everyday is "today" so they are right. Some "today" my stuff will arrive. I love the pictures! It looks like an incredible place to see. But maybe we will go in December :)

Vicki said... [Reply]

My compliments to the photographer! The pictures are great, the place looks fascinating, and you, by the way, look fantastic.

Good luck on getting the car.

Connie said... [Reply]

It can be very hot out there... we took my husband's cousin in July and it was so hot and exhausting that we passed on a trip to the Dead Sea the next day and relaxed in the Embassy pool instead. You must go back in cooler weather... not only is it more comfy, but to see the ruins covered in green is amazing. (and there are all these great lizards for the kids to chase!)

Connie said... [Reply]

and btw - it's fun shopping with you and the girls, no trouble at all, and thanks to you, I can now recognize sour cream (an absolute necessity) labled in Russian! :)

Jen Ambrose said... [Reply]

Hey, this just came across my Google reader and I thought of you guys. New discovery in Petra!

Please. Write your own stuff.