I have my own wall in Amman. Every time I go to Jordan we spend time together, just me and my wall. It’s nice to have my own place to meditate.
It’s not special to most people: this a shabby old wall, starting to crumble, which fences a grubby vacant lot on a busy road. But therin lies its charm – no one is queuing to sit on my wall, are they?
I will tell you our history. I came across my wall in 2009. It was my first day in Amman and I had arrived, encrusted in filth, to rest and wash before I travelled to Israel and Palestine. After weeks without a bath in Wadi Rum I was filthy and all of my clothes and shoes – once black, turquoise, magenta and red – were all brown and beige. I think my jeans had fleas in the waistband and I had goat hair in my bags/pockets/armpits/shampoo bottle.
It was only to be one night in a hotel, scrub myself, have my shoes cleans and clothes deloused and then make my way back to Tel Aviv.
Whilst my clothes were being sterilised by the obliging staff at my hotel, I went for a walk to get some fruit. I walked down the street for about 600 metres and I noticed a Eucalyptus tree – or gumtree as we call them. The sight and smell of a gumtree always reminds me of home (Australia) and so I am always delighted to find them in a faraway land. My wall is shaded by the gumtree and within close proximity to a little shop that sells an apple fizzy drink that I am particularly fond of and plays cool tunes such as Kylie. It really is the place to be, I encourage you to go to Amman and find your own wall. There are plenty to go around and my one has a nice view of the skyline.
Now there are always smug people from Jordan who will scoff at your choice of wall – you know who you are – but they are jealous that they didn’t find it first.
There are many places you can go for a more tourist-friendly view of the city but I like it here. This is what I see in 50 minutes of people -watching on my wall:
◊ two best friends sharing the earphones of an ipod
◊ a nice lady stops to ask if I am ok and am I lost? No? Just chilling out?
◊ a girl in a new, woollen suit. She looks like she is starting a a new job, perhaps it is her first? She is sweating in the heat and carrying an attache case and a bottle of tea
◊ I meet two German exchange students who are studying Arabic. We have a chat and I recommend my apple fizz to them
◊ a bird sits on the wall with me, I start to engage Mr. Bird in conversation but it eyes off my plums (as I am eating plums) and I don’t like sharing
As you see, nothing dazzling or extraordinary happens here, this is where the normal people pass and that is exactly what I want to see
So I guess you want to know the actual position of my wall?
I can share it with you, but I don’t want it getting too crowded: as long as there is a spot of me when I get back
Alright: from the Marriott hotel walk down to Khaled Ben al Waleed Street. Turn left and you will see my wall with the gumtree and the shop that plays Kylie music. Trader Vic’s is a little further up on the other side of the road. Enjoy the view – again, it’s very ordinary but one has the heart of an artist if one can find beauty in the unexceptional.