Thursday, June 14, 2012
14 June: Mallrats
14 June Poor Emi. Her shoes were worn out before we left and they've only gotten worse with all the walking on uneven terrain. I picked up some sandals for her downtown Amman a couple of days ago but they fell apart the next day. Literally. Determined to do right by her, we went to a mall today to buy her shoes--REAL shoes. The Amman Mall also happens to have something called "Dream Park"-a dreary collection of rides and inflatables you'd find at a town festival, complete with flashing lights and garish music. The girls were thrilled, of course, so I let them take a few rides. I was not quite as thrilled; it would have been tolerable if I'd had been able to have meaningful opportunities for conversation along the way, but alas, no. I did get to navigate my way through the process of understanding the rules about ride tokens, the need for socks on the inflatable slide, etc. But other wise it was kind of a sad and lonely experience for me. I don't want to begrudge their fun but this kind of thing seemed so, I don't know, WESTERN. We stopped in the grocery store imbedded in the mall for some cheese, jam, and bananas, and made our way back to the hotel for lunch and quiet time. Yumi and I are enjoying the map Nate procured for me (which now has a large hole in the middle bitten out by Aya), and used it to co-navigate on our way to and from the mall. Turns out our driver on the way to the mall actually needed our help. After circling and circling (and doubling our fare), we had to help the man out. Thanks to our map, we could! That has been gratifying--getting to know the city even better than I did when here summer of 2006. At least I think I do. Neither Yumi nor Emi actually slept during quiet time today. This would not have ordinarily been a problem back in our "old life" in Herndon, but they really need the sleep here. Each day, after quiet time, I take them on a little outing to get fruit or some other supply. Emi refused to get onto my back (via Ergo) so she had to walk back to the hotel. It isn't that far-just 10 minutes-but that is far for a little Emi in the hot sun. She was pretty distraught by the time we arrived home. And then it was essentially time for us to leave again--with Nate, who had returned--to go for dinner. Yumi and Emi were clearly done in but ordering take out and delivery just seems...like a total waste of being here! So we decided to proceed with our original plan: a famous restaurant downtown called "al quds" or "Jerusalem"--a place we used to enjoy back in 2006. I spent the entire ride downtown wrestling with Yumi and Emi who were howling and trying to open the backseat car doors! This is a setback for Yumi, but I should note that this fit was much less horrendous than the ones proceeding our trip and shortly after arrival. At least she was not screaming hateful things at us. She did say, however, something she has said several times: "Can we please go back to Herndon?" Sigh. The girls calmed down at the sight of the trays of sweets that greet you at the door of this restaurant. We ate mahshi (stuffed grape leaves), hummus, and kofta (grilled spiced ground meat). Despite their less than model behavior I really wanted to get then juices because I get them a mix of carrot juice with something else--this carrot being the only vegetable they are really getting. At home, I could fairly easily insist on carrots at lunch and some salad at dinner, but there is no way that works when we are eating out and I am barely getting them to eat something besides the white pita bread that comes with each meal. Yeah, that carrot juice is about the only fresh veggie they are getting right now. So we got juice, had a tolerable ride back, somewhat stressful pre-bed routine and here it is--8:30pm--and there is golden silence. Time for me to sit back and think about just what I can do to improve this situation. I suppose it is no secret that our experience here isn't going as well as I had hoped. Time for more reflection.