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Sunday, October 19, 2008 

Amman - first impressions

Some more live blogging. This time from Coffee and News -
appropriately! - on Jebl Amman. I'm going to tell you what's caught my
eye. It's all subjective.

A lot has changed. The upmarket shopping area of Sweifiyeh is
unregconisable - its massive pedestrian area is impressive. I seem to
remember it as a building site! And the Abdoun bridge is big, bold and
brash.

Shmeisani seems very different too. Two things stuck in my memory of
Amman - one was Frosti the ice cream shop. I struggled to even find it
this time among all the newness surrounding it.

Next, to Jebl Amman, the leafy residential district sitting atop
Downtown. It's as beautiful as I remember. Books@Cafe is still my
favourite spot in town.

People seem angry. Maybe they just don't like me! No one smiles here.
And taxi drivers don't offer cigarettes to their passengers - maybe
that's a Damascene oddity.

There are a lot of public spaces here. Seats on pavements seem to be
well used. But countering that is this place's obsession with the car.

Walking up and down a few of the hills - I can see why.

Hi Sasa - Despite being a long time reader this is my first comment. Thanks for all the brilliant insights that you offer into life in Damascus as well as the stories of the wider region. My interest is borne out of my desire to study there as part of an Arabic degree and as such will spent 8 days in your famous city next week. I welcome any suggestions and advice that you may have for getting the best out of Damas (it's particularly amazing to hear that taxi drivers offer cigarettes, I think this is truly Damascene). Have a good time in Amman. Greg, North of London

Hi greg thanks for your comment. My advice is enjoy the old city but don't ignore the new city. Wander round the posh shaalan and maliki at night. Head to one o the refugee camps (you'll be very welcome, there's no reason to be scared) like yarmuk, filasteen or jaramana. And visit the golan heights.

I'll be on one of my regular trips to north London soon so enjoy Damascus! And i'd love to publish your first impressions if you feel like writing something for me.

Welcome to Amman :D

let me know if u need any help around

Hi, Sasa. It's been a while since I commented. I have read some odd things in the past few days. First, I read of the supposed, hand-written letter, by Bush, to President Assad, saying that if he breaks ties with Iran, he will relinquish the Golan Heights. The other thing I read about was something I saw today. Meir Dagan, the Mossad chief and man responsible for a string of terrorist assassinations in Syria, has himself been assassinated in Jordon on the 12th of this month.

Has Syria given an response to Bush's letter, and has the assassination of Dagan been confirmed?

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  • Written by sasa
  • From Damascus, Syria
  • From Damascus to London via Beirut. Based in and out of the central Damascene hamlet of Saroujah. News and feelings from the streets every day. I'm talking rubbish? Leave a comment. Welcome to the information democracy. See below for info about this site.
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