Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tighter butts; blacker lungs

Today, Lena and I took a great walk up and down many fabulous hills... to a cafe where we smoked argeeleh.

This is actually quite frequent. Maybe once a week, we will march our happy butts down the thousands (or hundreds or something) stairs to downtown Jordan where we will then negate all the health benefits we just gave ourselves walking by smoking an argeeleh for two hours. That, or we'll take Heather and instead have a humongous meal at Cairo Restaurant (GREAT mansaf) or Gafra, then waddle up the stairs with overfilled bellies.

Granted, we usually share one argeeleh, so we aren't being quite as unhealthy as those guys nursing a single "black lung" (coal right on top of the pure tobacco) argeeleh. And to be honest, it's a great destination and way to relax on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

On this particular outing, Lena and I attempted to retrace our steps to a cafe we discovered on the way to the citadel with a friend before Christmas. We ran around downtown a bit, and after a wrong turn or two, we finally made it up a hill to our destination: Embareh (as we later learned it is called).

Embareh turned out to be a delightful cafe set in a beautiful old house. It is subtly colorful and has beautiful light fixtures. Fortunately it was beautiful outside today, so Lena and I were able to sit on the porch with our 2 dinar Lemon and mints and our 3 dinar argeeleh. Delightful. Even better, the waiter complimented me on my nearly nonexistant arabic, and we got to shoot the bull with him about Egypt (he was from Luxor, a city we will visit next week).

When the bill came, we found out he only charged us a little over half of what our bill would have been. What a great surprise! Instead of the usual eshnabiyyeh (foreignor) fees added on to bills, Lena and I actually got a "cute eshnabiyyeh" discount. We tipped him well.

The downside of walking for an hour to find a cute cafe in which to smoke argeeleh is walking an hour back from said argeeleh. With smoke-filled lungs. After gasping and panting at the top of the million-stair staircase, I remarked to Lena that this possibly isn't the cleverest way to enjoy our walks together. She agreed.

We'll probably go again later this week.

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