See you on the other side, Jordan

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Crazy Mikey was the guy who worked at our hostel. Crazy Mikey offered to drive us to the King Hussein/Alleby Border to conclude our trip in Jordan. To say Crazy Mikey is a character is an understatement. Crazy Mikey is from San Francisco, USA. Crazy Mikey does everything extremely unnecessarily early.  Crazy Mikey wakes up everyday at 3 AM no matter what. Crazy Mikey was in Academy for 17 years. Crazy Mikey would shave, make his bed, eat breakfast, and by 4 AM he would exercise. We heard about Crazy Mikey’s routine at least three times. Crazy Mikey mentioned he burned his hand. Assuming it had just happened, I ask, “oh are you okay?” Crazy Mikey replies, “Yea in Iraq war I had a bomb in my hand and pulled it away from children and it blew up in my hand, but you know the things you do to fight for our country.” But, but, Crazy Mikey, if a bomb blew up in your hand you wouldn’t have a hand… Crazy Mikey told us as he sped through the curvy roads of Amman,2014-04-06 06.24.33 “I used to drive race car, guys, you’re with Crazy Mikey, guys, hahahaha!”  Crazy Mikey used to drive a ’67 mustang and was caught by helicopter going 180 mph. Crazy Mikey happened to know there was a random coffee stand on the side of the road.2014-04-06 06.29.28 Crazy Mikey proclaimed his 6th wife will be Jewish. Crazy Mikey has had 5 wives. Crazy Mikey used to put so much coke in his nose. Crazy Mikey then used to ask the ladies, “let’s get married,” and then go to Tajo. Crazy Mikey claims it was good coke then, not mixed. Crazy Mikey got the ladies to respond, “yeaa, I’ll marry you, let’s go!” Crazy Mikey told us we are friendly. Crazy Mikey said the British, French, German don’t laugh, don’t have personality like American. Crazy Mikey crazy surprisingly got us to the border safely.

We then had the honor to have coffee with His Majesty King Abdullah the Second May He Reign Forever.2014-04-06 07.06.13

We waited for what felt like a very long time for them to even begin checking passports. There was a 10 JD exit tax, plus 7 JD for the bus to cross the border.

As we headed back to where we came from, I thought a lot about everything I had just experienced in Jordan.

Everyone was so nice. I have yet to encounter a culture that would stay talking with tourists so long. Granted, my friends were speaking Arabic so it was probably entertaining for them. And they were enjoying teaching me things and proving they know a little bit of English.

2014-04-06 08.55.15

What I knew

  • Shukuran – thank you
  • Kifak (kifik if you’re asking a girl)- what’s up/ how are you
  • Mniha – alright (response to above)
  • Inshallah- if god wills it

What I learned

  • Ma barif arabi – I don’t know Arabic
  • Al humdidallah – thank god
  • Ma salem – literally “with peace,” goodbye
  • Ana – me
  • 1-20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100
  • Shoe? – what?
  • Shoe ismak? – What’s your name?
  • Afwan- excuse me/you’re welcome
  • Moomkin- maybe (the only word to kind of be polite in Arabic)
  • Le/la- no
  • Wayne hamam? – Where’s the bathroom?
  • Ktir – very
  • Bdik/Bdak – do you want…
  • ik is female ending/ak is male ending
  • Probably more…

2014-04-06 09.56.41Al aqsa. The Dome of the Rock. It’s everywhere. Store signs, plastic bags, figurines, billboards. A mini one shines of gold amongst homogenous square buildings that crowd the one real city and capital of Jordan. Al quds. Jerusalem. It’s everywhere. The name of a restaurant. A coffee store. An origin. They still yearn for it. For their homeland. They can’t forget it. It’s everywhere. Their longing is real. It’s everywhere. Their pain is real. It’s everywhere.

Al quds. Jerusalem. What does quds mean? Hm, let’s think. In ancient times, what does the Tanach refer to Jerusalem as? Ir hakodesh. The holy city. Quds has the same exact root – kodesh. The fact that Jerusalem is holy to more than one nation will not change. But I sure hope the way we share it can. Peacefully.

Ma salem,

Ki

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