Archive for Amman

Happy Independence Day, Jordan


Happy Independence Day, Jordan. This is the Jordan of my childhood… Pink oleanders, vast blue skies, and expansive hills that we always used to run down. Scraped elbows and knees, a crisp morning breeze, and the sound of the cotton candy man’s whistle. May you remain stable, safe, and sound, and give our children the same beautiful memories you gave us. May you strive and prosper, and give us all the life we want.

Happy Independence Day!


Come visit Jordan this summer

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Welcome to the “We Have No Water!” Club — Tips to California from One of the World’s Driest Countries

Hi, California. Welcome to the “SHIT, WE HAVE NO WATER!” Club. It’s not a very happy club, but you must do what you can.

I’m responsible for introducing new members to club rules.

I know what you’re thinking. I too wish that our club rules are all about guest cards and lower charges for family members under the age of 21, and not about water days and how to brush your teeth. It sucks, ask me. Jordan’s been in the club for decades. We’re almost the leader, with one of the lowest levels of water-resource availability, per capita, in the world. We’re sort of like stars of the scene.

I’ve been reading the news and how you’re really sad about all your backyard pools. It’s cute. Ha. Backyard pools. You’re a lucky bitch, California, that you have that concern at all. When I was a kid, the closest thing we had to a backyard pool was a big bucket that my mom used to place in the bathtub when we wanted to take a shower. Oh, you’re not sure what I’m talking about? Yeah, I suppose people with backyard-pool-problems wouldn’t relate. Okay, so water was so scarce at some points in my childhood that my mother had to go nuclear. She would fill a little bucket with clean water, and she would pour it over our heads with a plastic cup, to conserve water. Backyard pools! Ha.

Shit, I’m talking too much, right? Sorry, sorry. I’m just really eager to get you on the right foot. Implications could be disastrous, otherwise.

Here’s a printed copy of the club rules, please keep it. I’ll read them out for you, too, just in case you’re the kind of person who’ll shove these rules in the nearest trashcan the minute I turn my back. Let me know if you have any questions.

1. Club members must observe stringent water conservation measures at all times when practicing personal, daily sanitation. (I know that’s a funny-sounding rule. It’s like the person who wrote this shit is a dainty little girl who doesn’t want to say “BATHROOM!” I’ll tell you what it actually means though, so don’t you worry! One, when you brush your teeth, turn off the damn water between wetting your toothbrush and rinsing your mouth. Two, when scrubbing your body or washing your hair in the shower, turn the water off. Three, when you’re washing your hands, turn the water off when getting soap to lather. You get the idea, I’m sure.)

2. Install appropriate aerator faucets across all sinks in your home or office. (You can get those from any hardware supply store. They just add bubbles to the water coming out of the faucet, and they’re cheap and fantastic.)

3. You have two weeks to apply the club’s lawn and plants guidelines, attached separately. (This one sounds tough at first, but don’t panic, you’ll be fine. Ahh.. what do you mean what about your automatic sprinklers? I’ve never seen automatic sprinklers in my life. Seriously, stop being so dramatic. Get a good, solid water hose with a built-in sprinkler, and use it once a week. Yes, I know your grass won’t survive watering only once a week. Let it die and plant something that doesn’t need as much water. Stop being a sissy, California! At least we’re only talking about your stupid lawn. Did you know that in Jordan, we get water supplied to our homes only ONCE a week? There’s a water day for each area from the government. My family’s water day is on Monday. Water days are a big thing in our culture — it’s when we water the garden, wash our clothes, and clean the house. Yes, I’m dead serious. So shut up and stop being dramatic.)

4. Club members may extend invitations to guests. (I gotta warn you here California, this rule is pretty tricky. For the most part, you can only extend invitations to two kinds of guests: those who will spend a shitload of money on tourism, or those who are the water-conservation academic sort coming in from other countries, or states, I guess, in your case. Ah, yeah, I guess you wouldn’t be familiar with those kids. Don’t worry it’s not too bad, some of them are really great people actually. They will poke stuff into you, and and they may be really arrogant about their degrees and knowledge, but in general, they’re very nice, especially the Germans.).

5. Members with greywater installations in their homes get extra benefits.

6. Baths are strictly prohibited, and showers should not take more than 10 minutes per day. (Come on, that’s not too bad. Did you ever try filling a bathtub? It takes forever. Such a waste of water.)

7. Replace household appliances that waste water, especially toilets, with more water-efficient ones. (Want a trick from an old-timer? Put a water bottle inside your toilet tank, and you’ll automatically get a free WaterSense).

8. Reuse your towels.

Okay, I’m getting tired of reading this list. I think the rest of the stuff aren’t as important, and you get the idea. One thing to keep in mind: always worry about the water.

Grrr… STOP COMPLAINING! At least the drought in your case appears to just be a temporary stunt.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s forever.


The Best Pizza in Amman

So, I’ll tell you a secret.


I LOVE pizza with all my heart and all my soul. There almost isn’t a pizza place that I haven’t tried in town, including non-pizza places that server pizza.

Ladies and gents… the best pizzas in Amman.

1. Pizza Rania at Il Pizzaiolo
Many of the items on Il Pizzaiolo’s very expansive menu are excellent (with the only disgusting item I ever tried there being the sea food pizza. Don’t try the sea food pizza– it tastes like an old, frozen ocean). Yet, nothing comes close to the work of art that is Pizza Rania, which comes with delicious fresh mozzarella, arugula leaves, and pomegranate seeds. It is really, really amazing.
Also try: Pizza Zafer, the bresaola pizza, the buffalo mozzarella pizza, and don’t you dare try miss out on the burrata.

pizza rania at il pizzaiolo

2. Mushroom Pizza with Pepperoni at Luigi’s
No one does basic pizza as well as Luigi’s. Their simple pizzas are just perfect, with great dough, good cheese, and super fresh mushrooms.
In my experience, there other pizzas aren’t as good though, so stick to basic.
Also try: Spinach pizza


3. Mediterranean Pizza at La Calle
La Calle has excellent crust, perhaps the best crust on the list. It’s crunchy, chewy, and slightly oven-charred. The Mediterranean Pizza (which we refer to as “pizza il jneineh” because it tastes like all the ingredients come from grandma’s pantry) is super delicious.
Also try: Arugula pizza

la calle

4. Buffalo Mozzarella Pizza at Barmony
A very simple pizza that really brings out the rich, creamy taste of buffalo mozzarella. It’s a square pizza and much thicker than other pizzas on this list, but still very delicious!
Also try: Vegetarian pizza

That’s it.

For those of you who will mention Pizza Il Reef, Pizza Joe, or Pizza Lovers, I have one thing to say: You’re stuck in the 90’s, honey.

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On February

February was for winter, February was for spring.

Jordan is quite stunning these days. Don’t spend your weekend cooped up — go out on a road trip. My favorite place in February was Qasr il Abed in Eraq il Ameer, and you can buy fresh beets from the kids there as well.

ancient stones
Ancient stones scattered all over the grass in Iraq Al-Amir. The mansion, believed to have been built by Hyrcanus of Jerusalem, governor of Ammon, dates from approximately 200BC. The burial caves across from the ruins date back to the copper age. THAT’S REALLY OLD.

Snow in our front yard

The weekend after the snow– winter + spring + some cool symmetry

bayt got talent got talent! Our legal counsel playing the qanun. How cool is that?

iraq al amir 2
Iraq al Ameer, take 2

feb ammansnow day
Snow covering Amman

Pretty view

iraq al amir 3
Iraq al Ameer, take 3

Why DO you work?

iraq al amir

House on the hill

I love the smell of pine trees

Rainy day

Pictorial Archive of Life

2007: On March | On April | On May | On June | On July | On August | On September | On October | On November | On December

2008: On January | On February | On March | On April | On May | On June | On August On September | On October | On November

2009: On July  | On August | On September | On October | On November | On December

2010: On January | On February | On March | On April | On May | On June | A Captioned July An UnCaptioned August  | On September  | On October | On November | On December

2011: On January  |  On February   |   On March   |  On April  |  On May  |   On July

2012: On April | On May | On June | On July | On August | On September | On October | On November | On December

2013: On January | On Februaury | On March | On April | On May | On June | On July | On August | On September | On October | On November | On December

2014: On January | On Februaury | On March | On April | On May | On June | On July | On August | On September | On October | On November | On December

2015: On January | On October | On February

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To Love Muath


I’ve been worried to death about Muath since I heard about his fallen plane in late December. Yesterday’s news was one of the most horrifying moments in my life, second maybe only to my father’s death.

There isn’t much to say. I believe that violence begets violence, so I will not join the ranks of people calling for vengeance. We need to weed out extremism from our midst, and that can’t be done with violence. We cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing.

I’m getting really upset by the people dwelling on the details. I find it really rude and cowardly when I hear people discussing the validity of the video. I know the incident is disgusting. I know we don’t want to believe it. But we must face the truth. Muath died a horrible death to keep you safe. He died so you can go to your job in the morning, and come back home to your family at night. Don’t you forget that, and don’t you belittle that.

The Jordanian government says Muath was murdered a month ago. That means that the ISIS assholes had a whole month to add special effects to make the experience even more sadistic. Special effects don’t bring Muath back to his wife, mother, father, and to us. He’s still just as dead.

May you rest in peace, Muath. You’re a hero.

We love you.

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