AndFarAway

A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: November 2007 (Page 1 of 2)

The Route to Work

Most of the time, I enjoy driving. I find it be sort of stress-relieving.

But like I said, most of the time, as I still cannot get myself to find the stress-relief part of driving to work- if anything, it is proving to be extremely stressful. I get in the car every morning and stare ahead at the fateful intersection in front of my house for a minute trying to choose one out of the four routes that I can take to the office.

If I go straight, I take the Culture Street route, which is the shortest and usually quickest way to Wadi Saqra from Shmesani, only problem being the three traffic lights scattered throughout. If I’m lucky, and I’m not most of the time, I get to the first traffic light when it’s green, and the other two will consequently turn green within seconds. Otherwise, I stop at each for a few minutes, making the shortest route the most time consuming. On intensely crowded days, the Culture Street route can easily become unbearable- yesterday for example, I stopped on the first traffic light four times before I finally managed to slip through. This route remains the least stressful one though because once the street lights are over, I just go straight ahead and reach Wadi Saqra without further interruptions or annoyances.

But the truth is, I do not like being in a stationary car, I would rather take the longer route yet not stop at traffic lights, which is why I sometimes decide to go left at the intersection rather than straight. Going left takes you deeper into the one-way streets and zillion stop signs of Shmesani, where the car is put into drive-stop-drive-stop-drive mode. Take a right turn, wait for the cars coming from the other side to pass as the street only fits one car, take a left turn, HONK at the idiot who doesn’t stop at stop signs, take another left, wait for a few minutes until another two-way street that only fits one car has enough space for me to pass, take a right, stop at an intersection of a main road for 3 minutes until someone is nice enough to slow down and let me drive through straight ahead, and then finally get to the street between the Interior Circle and the 4th Circle.

This part of the route is easy. You fight a little with some idiots, but for the most part, you just keep driving until you get to the 4th Circle, which is very easy to maneuver, and then continue on to Zahran Street, which is usually filled with idiots who think they can get away with driving between the two lanes, but with enough honking and tailing, things usually work out.

But then you get to the 3rd Circle, which is a complete and utter nightmare. Between the suicidal idiots who don’t know how to use their signals and breaks and the shitty and dangerous urban design of the network of streets on the circle, I cross my fingers and hope to not get hit by anyone every time I drive into the 3rd Circle from Zahran Street.

Which is why I sometimes take the third route, which is exactly the same as the second route except that I skip the 4th Circle turn and take a left to a traffic light that leads to Amaret Bank Il Iskan, and then take a right to find myself right after the Interior Circle, where there’s a tunnel that leads to Wadi Saqra. The problem with this route is that there’s always an idiot cop making the traffic jam much worse, and he usually stops me for a few more minutes more than the traffic lights of route one.       

The final route is one that I have yet to take, because it seems too long to go around Shmesani to get to the Wadi Saqra traffic lights. I do consider it every day though.

Choices, choices. During my daily drive to JU for those four years, I never really had a choice. There’s only one route from Shmesani to JU, and that is through the University Street. Because of the lack of choice, I had taught myself to enjoy driving on University Street, a very impressive trick I believe because I now cannot call up a single ounce of that enjoyment. When I drive there these days, I spend its entire stretch cussing out bus drivers and yelling at cabs.

I guess I’m going to have to condition myself to start enjoying one of the routes to work, because the drive isn’t really that bad when compared to finding a parking spot downstairs. At JU, I had learned to fit my car into the tiniest parking spots available. Here, I am learning to park it randomly, then close my eyes, cross my fingers, and hope no one hits my car.

Layered and Illustrated

So this image is going around under the title “All world famous men in one single photograph/artwork”, and aside from the fact that I cannot get my head over how horribly wrong that title sounds on so many levels (grammatically, politically, artistically), it’s still pretty nifty.
You can’t really see anything in the size below, but click on the image or [click here] to see it in detail.


[via Sabbah’s Blog]

Who can you spot? We could spot Bruce Lee, Stalin, Shakespeare, Margret Thatcher, Alexander the Great, Hitler, Saddam, Yasser Arafat, Pele, Elvis, Napoleon, Che Guvera, Bush, Castro, Pavarotti, Sharon, Mother Teresa, Micheal Jordan, Jesus, Queen Elizabeth, Audrey Hepburn, Mike Tyson, Charlie Chaplin, Einstein, and Ghandi.

The Most Crowded Place in the World

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How does the shop owner even walk into his own store?

Neutralized sounds from the past

Partly because of gorgeous sounds, partly beautiful memories, but I really love this song.

I personally prefer the new Lena Chamaylan version:

(play music)

The original is a Marcel Khalife / Omayma Khalil version:

(play music)

عصفور طل من الشباك، وقال لي يا نونو، خبيني عندك خبيني، دخلك يا نونو
قلت له إنت من وين، قال لي من حدود السما، قلت له جايي من وين، قال لي من بيت الجيران
قلت له خايف من مين، قال لي من القفص هربان، قلت له ريشاتك وين، قال لي فرفطها الزمان
ونزلت عا خدو دمعة، وجناحاتو متكيي، وتهدى بالرض وقال، بدي إمشي وما فيي
وضميتو عا قلبي وصار، يتوجع على جروحاتو، قبل ما يكسر الحبس، تكسر صوتو وجناحاتو
قلت له لا تخاف اتطلع، شوف الشمس اللي راح تطلع، واتطلع عالغابة وشاف، أمواج الحرية بتلمع
شاف جوانح عم بتزقزق، من خلف بواب العلية، شاف الغابة عم بتحلق، على جوانح الحرية

ِA bird peaked through the window and said “Oh, Nunu, hide me, please”. I asked him where he was from, he answered from the edges of the sky. I asked him where did you come from, he answered from the neighbors house. I asked him who are you afraid of, he answered that he had ran away from the cage. I asked him where his feather were, he answered that time has undone them. I held him against my heart and he was hurting from his pain, because before he broke his cage, he broke his voice and his wings.

Urban Review: Fairouzi

THIS PLACE HAS SINCE CLOSED.
For other options, check “Urban Reviews” category.

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Taste   

Style  

Vibes 

Price 

Parking (valet available)

Staff  

Location: Abdoun, across from Vy Gymn
Reservations: yes
Phone: 078-888-8288
We would recommend the kabab dish, it’s very different from Arabic Kabab.

Last weekend, after getting bored of waiting for an hour for our sushi at Noodasia, we decided to walk out and go try Fairouzi Persian restaurant down the street. We walked in at around 2:30, and perhaps because it was lunch time on a Saturday, the restaurant was very empty- we were the only people there.

The decor is nice, it has a lot of Islamic art touches that were haphazard and discontinuous of any particular tradition but still quite cool. We were surprised to see that the menu had more Lebanese dishes than Persian ones, and had to put extra effort in looking for the Persian ones to order. In the end, we shared some sort of Persian soup, Persian appetizer, Beryani rice, and a Kabab dish. The service was superfast, and the food was above average. We were both amused at how distinct the flavoring of the food is, making it very different from anything we’ve ever had- Arabic or otherwise. The bread that came with the food is also unbelievably good, unarguably my favorite part of the meal.

Otherwise, I am not sure we will go again. The prices are fair, but they’re the same you’d pay at an excellent Lebanese  restaurant like Fakherildeen.

Have you tried this place? What do you think?

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Total:

The Black Iris unavailable for a few days

I would just like to bring everyone’s attention to the fact that The Black Iris will unfortunately be down till Monday it seems (it’s thanksgiving holiday in the US), due to technical difficulties from the stupid web host. Thanks!

The Blind Spot Race

Close your left eye and focus on the star, moving closer to screen until your blind spot kicks into gear and the circle disappears. Pretty nifty, eh? For more, check out this little interesting flash game that makes you think more about blind spots.

Urban Review: Rihaneh

rehani (7)

Taste
   

Style  

Vibes 

Price 

Parking (mall-parking, park on P for direct access)

Staff  

Location: Mekkah Mall, soon to open in Abdoun mall
Reservations: no
Phone: (06) 583 3098
We would recommend the kabab dish, the seeneyeh kafta, and the “Beteinjan Rehaneh” aubergines dish.

Roba: Located in the 3rd floor of the Mecca Mall extension, this stand-alone Lebanese restaurant might as well be the best Lebanese food place in town, minus the fact that they don’t serve kubbeh nayeh (darn).
Their food though is quite delicious, very flavorful and always cooked to yuminess. We usually order their Kabab and kafta dishes, although we have tried their arayes and most of their cold mezzas, which are similarly pretty delicious. Yet yumminess aside, my favorite part about Rehaneh is that they always go the extra mile so that their food is made to not only please your taste buds, but to also please your eyes.

Definitely recommended, if not for the delicious food and great prices, then for the friendly staff.

rehani (19) rehani (15) rehani (11) rehani (1)
rehani (10) rehani (22) rehani (17) rehani (2)

Total:

The Doe-eyed Moment

I had just started the fourth grade and I was excited about the new year. The fourth grade at my elementary school spelled the ultimate change from being a child to becoming an adult; you started having to wear the “abaya“, you started taking real classes, and you started being treated like an adult.

My favorite addition though was the 2 weekly hours on the day before the weekend called “Activities”, where you had a selection of out-of-curricula classes to choose from. Being an art-aficionado from an early age, I naturally picked art. The teacher was an Egyptian called Ms. Maha, very tall and rather big, with your quite-typical Saudi-school idea of what art is- a lot of tin carving, dry pasta pasting, burlap (kheish) bags, ceramic flowers, and yarn beads. But that was still a lot better than the mosques they had us draw in third grade, and I was excited for the new use of material.

During our first class, she sat us in the basement of the school and told us how we are going to do some gorgeous adult art. Our first project: bedouin-style necklaces made from Pringles can-tops, which we were going to carve with ballpoint pins and then glue colored beads on. Then she pointed to the stack of glue piled up on the table.

Butterflies fluttered in my stomach when I realized that it was adult UHU superglue. The liquid type that my parents would never let me use at home. The liquid type that my dad would glue everything with. And I was finally adult enough to be able to use it.

I proudly stood in line behind my fellow classmates to put my hands on a tube all for myself, and spent the entire two hours carefully exploring the amazingness of UHU superglue, which was actually strong enough to stick the beads to the tin. Ahhh… even now, two decades on, I can clearly recall those hours. I glorified in its sweet caustic smell, which remains to this day one of my favorite scents in the world. I covered my hands with it and peeled it off carefully when it dried, making a mold of my tiny fingers. I learned how to put very small portions of it using hairpins. I glued the most random things ever, trying to test its limits, which seemed endless.

I went home in ecstasy that day, carrying my tube of half-finished UHU superglue proudly to show my mother. I was in love. I was an adult, and it was my savior.

From that day and for the next 10 years, UHU superglue was my best friend. I carried it around wherever I went, and actually kept that habit throughout college too. You never know when the circumstances call for some superglue here and there.

I developed the habit of gluing everything that needs to be fixed, as well as gluing anything I thought would look good somewhere where it wasn’t supposed to be.

I superglued my shoes together, I superglued the phone to my desk so no one would remove it, I superglued the door knobs to make them less slippery to open when my hands were wet, I superglued my dolls to my closets, I superglued my glasses together to make them more tight, I superglued my torn jeans, I superglued papers instead of stapling them, I superglued bookshelves and scraps of fallen paint, I superglued my Barbie-furniture to the dollhouse, I superglued photographs to the door, I superglued my backpack, I superglued the wheels of my bed, I superglued my hands together when I was bored, I even superglued broken furniture.

I remember when my dad was moving our furniture to Jordan, he called me up and told me with amusement that he had discovered that most of my drawer-panels were glued together with superglue. I told him I knew that. He asked me why didn’t I just tell him and he would have nailed them back together. I shrugged and told him that he taught me to love superglue. He shrugged and told me that he had had them fixed at a furniture store properly.

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And that, Manal, was my first crush. I still go doe-eyed when I see a tube of brand new UHU superglue.

Cook Me

Croatian creative agency Bruketa & Zinić have designed an annual report for food company Podravka that has to be baked in an oven before it can be read. Called Well Done,
the report features blank pages printed with thermo-reactive ink that,
after being wrapped in foil and cooked for 25 minutes, reveal text and
images. Pretty cool.

I especially like the foil its delivered in.

More at Dezeen via cpluv

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