My favorite thing about her is the fact that she’s probably one of the most spontaneous people I’ve ever met:
– “Lunch at 2?”
– “Sure! Where?”
– “I was thinking somewhere along the lines of Downtown.”
– “Alright, great!”
Most of my friends would have freaked out immediately at the idea of going downtown for lunch without much thinking put into the whole deal, after all, the downtown trip mostly comes with the whole sha bang of suitable mood, sufficient planning, and a fair share of procrastination.
Never with Lina though.
We started the day with lunch at the downtown branch of a restaurant famous for being an epitome of authentic Ammanite culture- Al-Quds Restaurant, the two-star wonder tale. This particular branch, being strategically placed right beneath the HQ of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, is conspicuously filled with beards, but it also has a fair deal of suits, skirts, jeans, along with warmer winter cords.
We shared a delicious dish of their signature Mansaf, as well as a plate of Maftool with beef, which I’ve never tried before in my life as Maftool is usually cooked with chicken and I don’t eat chicken. We sat there for around an hour, supplied with a constant amount of over-attentiveness from our waiter, while we chatted endlessly on a lot of random things, like Jordan Planet, blocs, Muna Nijem, blogging, reciprocal votes, pan-Arabism, and Al-Ghad versus Al-Rai.
Then we walked to the Husseini Mosque, where we whined a bit about the lack of preservation of the downtown area to one another, and visited this tiny herb store (“Since 1916”) by the mosque that sells really interesting multicolored herbs (including fluorescent orange!) with names like “the devil’s nail” and the “palm of the girl”.
After that, we walked over to another one of those ancient coffee shops, “Maqha Al-Jame3a il Arabeya” (Arab League Coffee-shop), where dozens of Jordanian men well over their 60’s were killing time smoking argeeleh, drinking coffee, and playing chess, backgammon, and cards. It is not common to have two young Jordanian females visit such coffee shops, but other than the surprised looks when we first walked in, we agreed that this generation of males is a lot less likely to be intolerant to such an “uncommon occurrence”. If we had walked into a similar setting of men under 40 years of age, the looks would have certainly been different. This observation led to discussions, of course complete with delicious coffee, of the increasing political apathy of Jordanian youth, as well as the culture gap between our grandparent’s generation and our generation.
Naturally, as soon as we left, we decided it was time for dessert. We walked around a bit looking for a “new” place to try out, but ended up going to all-time-favorite knafeh place Habiba, and as Lina said, “You really can’t come here without having Habibah! There’s something about that place.” We ate our knafeh in the alley right next to Koshk Abu Ali il Thaqafi (“Al-Thaqafah lal Jamee3”), a delicious way indeed to seal such a lovely day, and shared our book memories.
We really wanted to walk home, but we were short on time, so we opted to take a cab, but we agreed and made plans (like we always do), to do this more often.