The weather has turned out to be just perfect, about 21C at night and about 31C in the afternoon and then quickly drops about 4.30pm when the breeze picks up. In fact, there is rain forecast for this week on Friday, in the mornings there are often clouds rolling past the window looking to East – the flat is reasonably high up and hence the clouds appear quiet low.
Taxis work reasonably well, they are certainly cheap, but you often have to some idea were you are going, as despite assurances, in my short experience many drivers don’t speak English and I certainly don’t speak Arabic – yet! However, the easiest way is to learn were things are by a landmark, in my case, Amman Mall and then guide the driver from there, shortly I will know the Arabic for forward, right and left and also STOP! I have had two more funny taxi experiences. My trip from the Readers bookshop saw me asking the driver if his aircond worked, he smiled and flicked on the aircon and fine white dust poured out and blew all over the both of use – ‘no’, he said. Modern education learning theory (along with the old maximum experience is the best teacher) indicates you learn best from experience, I certainly learnt that the air con did not work. The other was a trip back from the Rovers Return an English pub near the Crown Plaza. I had easily made it there in a taxi, after another round of mobile phone call conversations back to the base, but the return trip did not go as smoothly. The driver was a young happy guy who kept asking other drivers across the passenger side window where he was and where the Amman Mall was. He spoke a few words of English and was able to explain that he was only helping his Dad out, who normally drove the taxi – ‘he would know where to go’, he said. Well, with much laughter between us and despite ignoring my advice to turn left and getting lost, he eventually got me home!
My work collegue, Manar, is full of enthusiasm and is pleasure to work with, as is the e-Learning coordinator, Lina – they treat me as the expert, but they are both clearly capable. Today I attended a typical staff meeting. The same problems were raised as those in Oz, the only mild difference being the enthusiasm with which the teachers contributed, clearly they were very committed to the education of their charges. ABS is keen on meetings, just possibly a little too many.
On Wednesday we went to the medical centre to have our blood test. This was accomplished by all expats and some new staff pilling into a couple of buses and being taken to old white multi-storied building. There were a number of young men hanging around, or so I thought, but they were simply there to get the same blood test to get a work permit. The groups of men lined up, as we did and we were ushered up some stairs and ask to wait and then ushered down the same stairs and asked to wait or sit, I sat! Our passports were taken and given to either one of the two nurses (I assume they were nurses) who efficiently drew blood – hopefully I passed, I did in Australia having had the similar test on behalf of the school, nothing like a bit of duplication.
I am off on Saturday on holidays, returning on Wednesday. First stop is the Mujib nature reserve which is just South on shores of the Dead Sea. I have had trouble booking this online, so hopefully it is not overbooked. The reserve is on the edge of the Dead Sea and there are small chalets that overlook the sea. I have got a paid for reservation for a couple more days at the Swiss resort Moebpick, which is also on the shores of the Dead Sea – this looks really wonderful, it is still low season as it is a bit hot, not sure how hot! I have booked a nice new car at 30JD per day from EURO’s Car, they have an office just down the end of the hill near the apartment, very convenient. The main road leads off towards the school and you turn left down towards the airport, but turn right on to the highway to the Dead Sea before you get to the airport.
I thought you might like to see some pics of the sky in Amman – they are often blue, but as with yesterday and today cumulonimbus (can you believe I spelt that word correctly) clouds can be seen – I think that is what they are called, no doubt I will be corrected if they are not.
Next week I’ll tell you a little about the country side, the Dead Sea and driving in Jordan.