I left Amman the same way I arrived, driving along the quiet highway in darkness, sleep creeping from the corner of my eyes. I am on my way to Israel now, meeting my parents in Tel Aviv after waiting 7 hours in the Amman airport.
My last day in Amman was a series of ups and downs. For the last time I was treated to the spectacular hospitality of my host family and their wonderful food. One of the things I will miss most about Jordan is breakfast, always a savory and filling affair. Hummus and foul are the typical Jordanian breakfast foods, always accompanied by at least one type of jibneh (cheese) and leben (yogurt). Every morning Kaitlin and I devoured massive amounts of pita, zait and zatar (olive oil with spectacularly salty spices and sesame seeds), foul (pinto like beans seasoned to perfection and mixed with tomatoes, peppers and onions, often served warm), and fresh cucumbers tomatos and mint. We quickly learned which dishes were our favorites, including jibneh nablusi (a Palestinian cheese I believe is haloumi) and zatar.
After gorging myself on my last home cooked meal, Kaitlin and I made our way downtown to meet Maya and Allegra for second breakfast at Hashem, complete with the the best restaurant hummus I have had in Jordan, falafel and sickly sweet tea. As per usual, I tend to eat my way through countries and today was no different. We made our way to one of our favorite cafes for a limon wa nana (lemon and mint juice) and later to Habibah sweets for knaffeh and baklava.
Kaitlin and I decided to get in some last minute shopping, both realizing that regardless of how much money we had spent, we hadn’t really gotten ourselves any gifts. We meandered through the clothing souks in the crowded heat and stumbled upon a small shop buried in the labyrinth of clothing, jewelry and scarves. After entering a random small shop, we found knee length tunics decorated in the gorgeous hand embroidery of Palestinian traditional dress. The man selling them was supremely sweet, and ended up being the brother of a woman hosting two of the girls on our trip! Jordan is a crazy small world and his kindness, beautiful clothing and offer to tea completely changed our opinion of downtown Amman and we left in high spirits.
Due to external circumstances we had to rush out of our host house without really getting the chance to say goodbye to our family and without taking an pictures as they were all napping. However, as my host mom gave me the traditional three kisses on the cheek I found myself crying softly, unprepared to leave the city that I was just beginning to feel comfortable in.
As I sit in the airport munching on peanut M&Ms and gorging myself on Game of Thrones, I am eager to be a tourist in a new country and experience everything Israel (Palestine) has to offer. But besides the ups and downs of Amman, I find myself sad to leave the white washed walls and dusty streets, the sleazy cab drivers and the small cafes, the 50 cent falafel sandwiches and the sweet smell of sheesha smoke. Ma’asalaama Amman, till next time.