After the magic of Petra, we moved on to Amman and stayed Downtown in the heart of the action, amid the bustle of the main shopping district, Al-Husseiny Mosque, and the souk. It brings back so many memories of our days in Khartoum. We can’t say it’s the calmest placed we’ve stayed, with the five-per-day call to prayers (beginning at 5 am), and the drivers that use their horns instead of their brakes.
It’s an assault on the senses, but it’s authentic Amman. We started in the souk where you can buy just about anything you need, from clothing to gold to tonight’s dessert. And since women are the primary shoppers, much of the merchandise is designed to catch their eye. In a Muslim country, where women are expected to dress very conservatively, a headscarf is one of the places where they can express themselves.
We aren’t sure if these robes are formal wear or something for the bedroom, but the matching hats really work.
We’ve always thought that sand art was strictly a tourist purchase, but this sand bottle artist was making a custom piece for a local couple. These guys may really be magicians, because we still aren’t sure how they do it.
On Main Street (actually called Alhashemi Street) things are a bit more practical. Water pipes called “nargileh” are popular in Amman, and there are cafes devoted to coffee and smoking your hookahs. These new pipes and colorful hoses were a hot item at this store.
We posted from Athens on church supplies, and how we’d never thought about where this stuff comes from. Then on our walk today, we spotted a store that sells stainless steel crescent tops for the minarets of mosques.
After our grueling day of window shopping we needed nourishment, and ended up at the popular Hashem Restaurant, a wonderful hole-in-the-wall place that serves the best falafel, hummus, and tea. It is a dive in the strictest sense. In the photo, you will notice the absence of silverware, napkins, and plates. We’re talking fingers only … but oh how delicious.
James and Terri