When we flew over the city the night was still deep black, a puzzle of little orange luminous dots unravelling in intricate lines and circles over the dark hills. Numb from discontinuous and troubled sleep, we landed in the almost deserted Amman airport. One person was waiting for us, dizzier and sleepier than us because of the early waking, with his coffee in one hand, and on his face, trying to conceal tiredness, a big smile, a smile that, as we learned soon, would always welcome us in our everyday life in the office and outside.
Rami left us in our apartment in Khalda, a north-western commercial area of the city. We went out on the small balcony for a cigarette before going to bed finally. The sun was rising over the white city, the sky was of a delicate light blue, when the magnetic voice of the muezzin started to inundate the fresh light air of dawn: “I am in Jordan”, that was the first moment I realized — after so much waiting and organizing for tickets and dates and details — that my journey had really started. Perfect scenario, perfect timing.
Amman is not an easy city for a newcomer. It overwhelms you, with its wide streets packed with cars, hard to find a way to walk through them, through the greyish buildings and the neon light signs of hundreds of shops and fast foods, with the noise of horns and of work-in-progresses filling your ears. But then you manage to draw from that chaos a mental map, no matter how precarious, and to find your way through the traffic and buzz, you start to get used to your new daily routine, and the city starts to look familiar. Only then you can start enjoying Amman. When the guy at the “shisha place” recognizes you and welcomes you with his best smile, when you know where to get the best falafel sandwich ever, when you are sure in that place you’re going to find good music. When you just want to escape from Khalda and enjoy a walk in the greener Rainbow street.
From there I Iike to look at the sunset over the Citadel lying on top of the opposite jabal. The yellow light and longer shades give an uncommon depth to the white city, to the white houses crushed on the slopes of its hills. And reminds you that hidden in the mess of the big metropolis, beyond the appearance of the modern city, Amman offers a warm soul that you can appreciate only by living it, by tasting this little pleasures day by day.