‘Just speak English, I’m a busy man’

The Iftar party’s over in Doors. The tabla drummers and the Sufi dervish in his suit of lights – a very literal take on the toreador’s kit – did their show at half past ten, cavorting through the tables for half an hour, handing out three of four birthday cakes before wrapping up. The clientele, Amman’s glamorous mid-20s, are sat around tables bubbling away at shisha. Moodlit by strategically placed dimmer bulbs and fairy lights, it’s really rather magical. And talk about glamorous! These profiles are to die for. My Semitic nose obsession is on red alert. As for all these dark eyes and black tumbling locks… Somebody lock me up before I break my one year abroad rule.

Ok, ok, I was only kidding. I’m not about to declare my undying love for one of these Jordanian beauties tonight. Not when we’re still struggling to get to grips with the local dialect, which is supposed to be similar to Classical Arabic, but falls depressingly short of what I’d call a family resemblance. We made it out to a night at Doors on Eloise’s suggestion in order to try to practice that complex ‘Amia, and here we are watching Andrew sink further and further into a state of shisha-induced nirvana. There’s this glazed look of bemused superiority in his eyes as he takes another puff from the pipe. ‘Which one would you eat first?’ he asks, twirling the pipe nonchalantly between his fingers. He’s talking, of course, about the potions in Alice in Wonderland. Of course. I think I’ll give the shisha a miss tonight. 

Eloise turned up at ours earlier just five minutes after we’d got back to the apartment with our shopping. She’s had a rough time of it on the homestay front: she got lost on the way home and had to find her way back to the house in the dark alone, only to find her family on their way out for the night, without the dinner they’d promised her. Between that and their attempts to either speak to her in English or batter her with lightspeed ‘amia, she’s drawn the short straw. It could just be teething problems, of course, but that’s still an expensive dental bill at the end of the day. Scrambled eggs, kunafa and a couple of teas later and we’re on the road to recovery, but a conversation with a local is still proving hard to come by. We tried asking one of the waiters for the wifi password in Arabic. He just shot us an exasperated look and told us to speak English. He clearly didn’t have the time to deal with time-wasting travelers like us. Ila liqaa! BB x


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