Monday, May 10, 2010

Street Kids in Amman

I have arrived in Amman, before heading into the West Bank to begin some preliminary research. When I was touristing around, I sat down under a park bench to relax and regroup. I was instantly seized upon by about 6 young street kids, none of whom spoke English. We tried communicating in mime and using my Lonely Planet glossary. One of them brought me a Pepsi, which became the only word we could communicate to each other. (And wouldn't Pepsi just LOVE that!) When I offered to pay for the Pepsi, they refused the money. I asked (in Arabic) where the Citadel was, and they pointed in the direction of a large hill. I took off, only to feel the presence of someone following me. Hakim and Ibrahim (two of the kids) decided to accompany me to make sure I got there OK. They shuttled me through side streets, alleys, and markets pointing out things on the streets and telling me their arabic names (fish=maki...I think). When we got to the tourist depot, I again offered money for their time, and they shrugged me off. I think that they would have gone all the way to the top of the Citidel with me, but they knew how steep it was, how hot it was, and how uncomfortable it was going to be. They were smart to avoid the near sunstroke I had when I reached the top. I was happy for SPF70 sunblock and conservative Islamic rules mandating that I cover most of my body, or else I would have been covered in sunburn.

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