RandyLeGrant's Travel Journals

RandyLeGrant

 
What was the strangest food you ate while traveling?

Lamb brains in Jordan.

  • 68 years old
  • From Oklahoma, United States
  • Currently in Connecticut, United States

Middle East in December

I am the Executive Director at GeoVisions. I'm in Amman, Jordan tonight and will be here through Wednesday. I'm then headed to Damascus and then Beirut to check up on our volunteers and tutors and and visit our projects.

Day 1-Sunday NYC to Amman

Jordan Amman, Jordan  |  Dec 12, 2010
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 The Middle East in December can be an interesting experience. Landing in a sand storm, for example. Raining sand. Eating the most amazing food in a sweater and jacket! But the Middle East is a hub of activity for students and volunteers. 

The Royal Jordanian flight from JFK was only just over 10 hours.  We made up a full hour en route and I slept.  And slept...

I've never landed in a sand storm before.  I thought it was fog.  OK...it would have been dirty fog.  And on the way into the city it rained.  Sand.  No water...just sand.  All of this a first for me.  The wind is blowing at least 50-60 mph and it's cold.

Be advised to pick up some Jordanian Dinar before you fly to Jordan.  Helpful when you arrive and need to buy your visa or pay for a taxi.  There is a bank just after you walk out of the airplane, but you can save time from standing in line if you have 50-100 JD with you upon arrival.

I'm west of the old city at the Sheraton.  So down to the old city I went with our partner here in Amman, Farouk.  He met me at the airport, drove me through the sand storm to my hotel, and drove me to the old city.  In fact, he took me by the house where he grew up.

Not many tourists venture into the old city.  It's very different from the west side.  Decked out with a sweater, a winter jacket, a scarf and a cap we walked around the old city for awhile. Stopped to look at some restoration of Roman ruins and ended up in a coffee restaurant.  We ordered tea and "a few" appetizers.  "A few" turned out to be "too many" and the poor waiters were so upset that we didn't eat all of the food they brought.  They thought we didn't like it.  We had to explain long and hard that we just weren't all that hungry.

Jordanians are so friendly.  They wanted to know where I was from and all of them welcomed me to Jordan.  What great people.

For desert we walked a bit further and stopped off at Habibah, founded in 1951.  We waited in line for sweet cheese knafeh.  Walking in we were #112 and they were serving #92, so it was about a 15-20 minute wait.  But watching the staff work away on the deserts was fascinating as they sprinkled crushed green pistachio nuts onto the hot baked sweet cheese and pastry dish, drenched in boiling honey water.  They cut large circular plates of knafeh into pieces for everyone: fifty cents for a small one and a dollar for a large.

More later.  I've only been here six hours!!!

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