the beginning of travels
The posts on Michaelmas are coming, but it didn’t seem to right to skip over the fun things I’m doing at the moment– namely, wandering around the Old City in Jerusalem to my heart’s content. I’ve only been here for six hours, give or take a little, but most of it has been spent meandering, and it’s been awesome. I’m realizing, though, that I know remarkably little about what’s actually in the Old City or how it came to be there (apart from the Haram, thank you Dr. Armstrong). I stumbled into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre just as evening prayers were starting, and if I’m not mistaken, there were three or maybe four different groups all doing different liturgies at roughly the same time. Didn’t exactly know what to make of that, but I think I’d rather experience first and read later. So that’s the plan for this evening: retrace my steps on a map, read up on the places I’ve been, blog, work on photos, plan more, Skype with the fam, all that good stuff.
The journey from England was relatively painless, with the exception of screaming children on the airplane, long waits, and dehydration. I left my flat in Oxford at ten till 4am, and by 10:15 had made my (cold, sleepy) way through London to Gatwick Airport. Nice place, but the English don’t seem to believe in public water fountains or electric outlets, so it was an unproductive and thirsty wait. The EasyJet check-in line was enormously long, which is no big deal, but it gave me ample time to eye the luggage sizing bins and watch as person after person ended up having to check their carry-on bags. It was a bit disconcerting, and by the time it was my turn I was almost positive I would be doing the same; I had forgotten to check the dimensions of my pack. Thankfully, it slid right in with plenty of room to spare.
The flight was forty-five minutes shorter than it was supposed to be, which is always a nice thing. The guy next to me on the plane was, like me, planning on crashing in a hostel in Amman, so we decided to team up for the evening. Also, I saw the Alps for the first time; even from above, they’re gorgeous! I only spent twelve hours in Amman, and half of those were sleeping, so I don’t have much to say. Jordanians have a reputation for friendliness, and the ones I ran into were indeed quite friendly and helpful and knew at least a little English. Downtown seems to be a lively place in the evening. Got food at a street restaurant sort of thing; it was great. Finally got a hold of some drinking water around 10pm. My sheets had definitely not been changed, but the bed was comfy and I slept like a rock (except at 5:30am when I got my first muezzin-over-loudspeakers experience).
My border crossing at the King Hussein Bridge went rather like all the other accounts of that crossing that are out on the internet already, so no use rambling about boring details. Suffice it to say that it was a really beautiful morning, everything went smoothly, and I got to the Old City at about 11:30am.