2005 Time-out Diary
Wandering around Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon

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14-14 November 2005

Monday 14th November 2005    day 126     whereami     Satellite view

Amman, Jordan
Slept like a log again, I think I'm still catching up from the past week of heavy exercise and disturbed sleep. Didn't get up until 10am but I look and feel better for it - I've felt fine but the odd look in the mirror has revealed a tired looking face.

Asked at reception for directions to the syrian embassy and didn't get the usual answer. It's 2-3km so I decided to walk. Heavy walk, uphill all the way and some of it very steep. Got to the right area and walked up and down a heavily guarded street full of embassies. They're mostly pretty discrete about their identity so it takes a while to locate the little plaque with the details. Some fly flags but I don't know the syrian flag. No sign of it so I asked a soldier who pointed me another km up the hill into the next street. Walked and walked around, still no sign, asked a few more people and seemed to be getting closer. I walked past the swiss embassy that said open hours were 9-12, oh no! Don't tell me they don't open in the afternoons!.

Finally found it about 12:30 by repeatedly asking - it didn't seem to be identified at all. I understand that they have security concerns but it seems a bit daft. Any terrorist would surely be happy to spend as long as it took to find his target - so it's not a great aid to security. But us poor innocents with less time and resources get inconvenienced by it. I asked for a tourist visa, they asked for my passport but while I was rummaging she asked if I was a jordanian resident, as soon as I said no the matter was closed. I asked what else I could do and she said try the border but wouldn't comment on my chances. I tried to keep the conversation going in the hope we might find a way but the matter was closed.

Oh well, I kind of expected it and always thought I'd have a better chance at the border - so the border it is, tomorrow.

There's plenty of nice cars about uptown and it's got me pining for mine. I've been thinking about getting home and getting it out of the garage for a while now - I'm looking forward to it. The tragedy is that it will probably be up for sale soon if I'm going away again - which is 99.9% certain. I shall cry for a month when it drives away!

Started walking back and looking out for a bus - my poor feet. No bus and I walked all the way back, it was easier as it was all downhill of course. Back to the hotel to ask advice about getting to the border. They recommended a bus to Rhamsa(?) near the border - they don't rate my chances as very good at all.

At a bit of a loose end I went out for a minor walk and jacket hunt - I still like the one I saw last night. Back to last night's café for another of their excellent fuls - they put a little chilli, cheese and lemon on top and it's superb - best ful I've had, 45piastre. Took a few fairly dull street shots.

downtown Amman   downtown Amman

downtown Amman   downtown Amman

At an even looser end now but I don't want to walk any more so went back to the hotel. I'll give my gear a good sort out - it's got a bit disorganised lately.

There's a shop below the hotel that has played the same song, loudly, repeatedly, non-stop (8am-1am) since I got here. I'm getting a little bored with it!

Sorted my stuff out and made a start on Dark Star Safari - Paul Theroux's travels from Cairo to Capetown - it's very good and I happily read for several hours.

My roommate pops in and out now and then. He's as quiet and timid as a mouse. Yesterday I was bent over the bin shaking tea-leaves out of my glass and he opened the door onto my head. I just thought it was funny but he seemed convinced I was gonna thump him for it. He's even quieter and more timid since!

Going out for food, internet and maybe I'll buy that jacket - show a bit of confidence by getting rid of some of my excess JDs!

The next few days are a bit uncertain so there might be no updates for a while.

Did my internet and food stuff and went back to the hotel communal lounge. Chatted with a german air hostess on holiday, she visits here regularly and rated my chances of getting into Syria as zero, the hotel boys nodded in agreement. The german, who was only half-pissed tonight, thought maybe a 20% chance. I'm feeling less hopeful and cheered myself up by thinking that a bit more time in Jordan and a return to Dahab and Cairo won't be so bad really. Bed soon after midnight.

      High: great ful for lunch
       Low: still no syrian visa - fairly predictable though

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