So it’s been about three and a half days since I got to Jordan, and they have been busy ones. Because we don’t have the contract with IRD yet, Philip is having Ahmad and myself spend a lot of time fixing up the house, which he wants to turn into a cafe. The bathrooms need to be resealed, the rubble from the old demolished house needs to be removed, and a gate needs to be put up to prevent the street cleaners from wandering into Philip’s yard to pick the figs and olives off of his trees. On top of that, we’re all meeting constantly with various organizers around Amman to try to start up a recycling program, and Philip of course still wants me to bone up on my Arabic with Ahmad as much as possible when we do get that computer-teaching contract.

It’s been weird to get used to the Call To Prayers that echo through the streets every few hours. A few months ago I went to a meeting of the Madison Muslim Student Association where they gave a call to prayer that was breathtakingly beautiful. These ones here are so frequent and common that they just use electronic loudspeakers now, which means that my (extremely) limited knowledge of Arabic has no hope of deciphering the guttural, muffled voice on the other end.

Because of the extreme scarcity of water here (thanks to Israel diverting massive amounts of the Jordan River to top off their swimming pools and keep their lawns perky) the toilets are all extremely low-flow. The pipes here can’t even handle toilet paper. Yes – before you ask, there is toilet paper here, but it can’t go into the toilets. Thus came my first experiences with bidets and spray hoses for…cleaning purposes. Philip’s house is so new that water heaters and pressure are a little bit of a problem, too – the cold, dripping showers are an interesting experience, but needless to say, I no longer need coffee to wake up in the mornings. These are all things that we’ll have fixed up over the next couple of weeks.

Ahmad and I took a trip (courtesy of Rami’s taxi, which he lets us use for free, or at least, he hasn’t charged us yet) to central Amman today to deliver some paperwork to Entity Green’s offices, which are really nice. I had my first example to “show off” a little to Ahmad – the receptionist’s Dell system had no sound working and was filled with pop-ups. I had the drivers reinstalled and working and the scans coming up clean within 20 minutes. We fooled around on Facebook for another hour or so in the air-conditioned office, showing each other pictures of our friends and families. On our walk home, we ran through ideas and plans for our first, hoped-for lesson teaching students computers – he’s a sharp guy, and I only had to let him in on a few things for us to be on the same page. His fluent Arabic and my lesson plans will be perfect together, in’shallah.

After we got back, we got our gate up and almost in working condition, thanks to a skillsaw and myself, plus Ahmad and a hammer. Philip has piles of boards and a couple sheets of corrugated metal around, and we fashioned ourselves a rough but workable gate on the cheap, with the help of Philip’s friend Taleeb, a plumber and general handyman to helped us rig up the hinge part of the gate. We rewarded ourselves with some figs and adjourned to Winkie’s for dinner.

Well, I’d better start walking back to Philip’s place, as it’s getting late, the traffic is still insanely fast, and we have a meeting at the British government’s embassy tomorrow morning to work a recycling deal, in’shallah. Plus the mosquitoes out here are eating me alive. If you’re interested though, here’s the public link to the photos from my first Facebook album out of Jordan: