We were returning to Amman and faced a long drive in the bus. Kathy and I played cards but it was quite difficult because the bus jumped and shook so much our cards often slipped off the table. It was a fun diversion despite that issue. Occasionally when the bus got speed up we were almost throwing ourselves across the table to keep them in place!
When we had a coffee stop we shared the Torte de Santiago that Anne and I brought from Spain. It was a pleasant change. Not too sweet. When we close to town we stopped at a special restaurant where they served the feast meal of mansef , a traditional dish of slow roasted lamb, yellow rice and hot goat yoghurt sauce. As usual there were many dips served of hummus, baba ganoush, yoghurt and cucumber, smoked eggplant, tiny sausages and chicken wings as a first course with flat bread then the main meal followed by dessert of sweet cakes. Julie and I decided we only wanted the light meal of the dips and we were a bit miffed at the end to find we paid more for less! Anne had had the full meal and only paid 16.50 Dinar including the drink. The waiters hadn’t charged us the special group price. We learned that it is best to be all in or all out. The staff just don’t cope with variations. Some of the others are not having lunch at all but just a drink.
One of the interesting things we have found is that when alcohol is not part of the culture the restaurants have a few more non-alcoholic options. One we like is the whole lemon vitamised with mint and water with a little sugar added. It is very refreshing but they don’t really go with food like wine.
Once back in Amman we began a tour of the city. We visited the Roman amphitheatre, the acropolis, Pillars of Hercules, and from a vantage point looked over the oldest part of Amman where the houses might have 100-200 steps for access. As Amman is built on many hills the houses have crept up the hill. We wondered how they would deal with a fire because there were hardly any lanes to access the houses.
Having seen the old town we were heading off to the newer part where all the embassies and new shopping malls are situated when the bus broke down. The driver managed to manoeuvre it out of the traffic but we were stranded for about 45 mins and it was still very hot. Some of the others got out of the bus because they were too hot and the air conditioner wasn’t working in the bus either. Finally the repair man arrived and fixed the bus. It was only because the petrol tank had dropped to 1/4 full and the new buses need more to keep the air out of the pipe. As we were all sweltering we were very relieved to get the bus going and and the air conditioner and continue our tour.
We passed the American embassy which has a massive compound and we were not allowed to take photos. The Saudi embassy was also huge. We ventured into up market suburbs that were like Glen Waverley! There was greenery and gardens. They seem to be fond of topiary.
Then we were back at the hotel and had dinner. The call to Mosque started and went on for some time before life started when the day’s fast was broken. The locals celebrated while we all took to our beds.