New beginnings

I arrived very early yesterday morning in Amman. It was strange to fly over the West Bank, after having taken so many flights to Ben Gurion that pitched and turned before the Green Line. Nablus, instead of a mountain of fire, looked more like two dark mountains with a luminous valley of sodium in between. The settlements were easily identifiable by their rings of lights, huddled against the black. Then, darkness along the River Jordan, and across, into new territory for me, and a new beginning.

Amman itself feels slightly uncanny, in the sense Freud explored; much about it is reminiscent of Ramallah, down to the propensity for mini-Eiffel tower adornments on the older houses. Yet it is also obviously not Ramallah — the city is more muscular than I expected, somehow. The wide and fast roads that dip and weave over and under one another, revealing in momentary cutaways other subterranean lanes of traffic, suggest an economic power quite absent from Palestine. On a Friday afternoon walk in the centre of town I came across many east Asian workers sitting outside money transfer shops, a sight that spoke of other flows and relationships with the world that just aren’t possible in Palestine.

I am here now to work on my Arabic for at least two months, learn about Jordan, and see what comes next. So, if you have recommendations for good things to read on this country and its peoples, or people I should meet, or projects you think we might work together on… drop me a line!

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