After three weeks, I’m starting to settle into the daily flow of living here. The streets are all settling into a pattern in my head, the restaurants are familiar (especially my favorite, “Reem’s Shwarma” on 2nd circle), and the people’s names are starting to not sound like gurgling anymore. Hopefully that last one is part me being able to start to remember familiar faces, and partly the language starting to stick in my not-so jetlagged head.

We’re a third of the way through Ramadan now, and I personally can’t wait for it to be over – not because I suffer, of course, but because everyone seems so tired, hungry, and mostly, just plain grumpy. All of the restaurants are closed throughout the day (I’m not sure if it’s a law or just proper custom) and even the chains like McDonald’s and Hardee’s are locked down too, although amusingly enough you can sneak around to the drive through’s and they’ll surreptiously let you buy things. Thankfully, grocery stores are still open at fairly regular hours, but woe betide any foreigner who absent mindedly pops a piece of gum into his or her mouth while wandering the streets – I have caught myself on several occasions, just in time. You will get quite the few insulted glares and angry grumbles cast your way, and depending how hot it gets, maybe worse. Usually you can count on the huge Jordanian police force/military to protect you (they wander about with submachine guns under their arms all over the place) but it’s hot enough and tempers are high enough that they just might beat you over the head a few times (or so I’m told).

The good thing is that Ifthar (the nightly breaking of the fast) is getting earlier each evening, because of course it’s based on the sunset. On the first night it was 7:05 or so, but tonight it was around 6:45. When the Call begins, cars start honking in the street, children cheer (and their parents do too sometimes; my neighbors) and oftentimes, fireworks are shot up all over the city. I was getting a taxi ride home once at around 6:30 or so – the streets were clearing out as everyone was heading home to be sure they were seated at the table and ready to go, and the driver was going at around 120 kilometers an hour and glancing at his watch. Going at 120 KM down an alleyway with cars parked on both sides of you is an interesting experience. He practically shoved me out of the door in his hurry to finish his duties, and I was all too eager to let myself out.

After the sounds of the Call dies away, Amman becomes like a ghost town. The main highway between the Circles is practically deserted and as you walk the side streets, all you can hear is the low murmur of conversation and the clink of silverware as a million people all start eating at the same time. Philip tells me it’s a great time for a bike ride then, because you practically have the streets to yourself. It makes for a great time for other foreigners and non-Muslims to randomly meet each other though; several times at Reem’s I’ve ran into Brits, Spaniards, and I think some Italians, all of us waiting in line for the delicious, zekki shwarma.

A few days ago, I went to the east side of town to the Roman Theater (you can see some of the pictures in my Flickr account) with Ahmad and Rami. I wish I could have had more time to explore it and the museums that are built into its shadowy corners, but we were running on Rami’s taxi and I didn’t want to make the guy wait. As you can tell from the pictures, the structure is positively massive, built into a hill as large as a New York office, and the stone stairs are dangerously steep. We went there in the late afternoon, so the sun was shining down directly into our eyes as we “mountain-climbed” our way up to the top, causing me to scrabble frantically at the rocks when I reached for the stair ahead of me that wasn’t quite there. At the top, we could look out to the north across the valley to the ruined Hercules Temple on the next hill over, which will more than likely be my next sight-seeing stop when I have a break, perhaps this weekend.

Ahmad is amazingly hospitable to me; he tries to pay for everything I do, and tells me “don’t worry, I take care of this.” Rami and their friend Fouad are the same; they were constantly pushing free cups of lemonade towards me at the bazaar last week. Every new Arab friend of mine is so exceedingly generous, I feel guilty for not having more talents to offer (although I did just fix Ahmad’s broken computer for him tonight, so I feel a little better). His wish to assist me with things borders on ridiculous: when I was buying my first postcards for people at the Roman Theater, I had to fight him off to prevent him from buying my cards for me!

In other news, it seems like I might be getting my first hot shower in three weeks very soon (in’shallah) – Philip’s electrician/plumber/all-around handyman friend Pat stopped by yesterday evening to give us a hand. I showed him the problems with the water heaters and wiring, and he wandered about calmly measuring things and tapping on the walls. When Philp arrived a half hour later, Pat already had it all laid out in his mind what parts of the walls he would need to knock holes into in order to fix the mistakes the Jordanian contractors made, and then we all went out to dinner for hoummus and fuul (beans) for my first Ifthar at nearby restaurant. I don’t want to get my hopes up yet, but I may have hot water by Saturday morning (I’m going to say in’shallah again here, for good measure).

Unfortunately, there’s been little news yet on the Iraqi refugee contract front yet, but Philip has a meeting with our sponsors tomorrow, which is definitely a good thing. I greatly enjoy my jobs at the Christian school and Entity Green’s office, but of course I can’t wait to actually work my main skill set with people who need it the most. As soon as I get more information, I’ll write about it!