Saturday, October 16, 2010

Getting fat during Ramadan

I have now survived two Ramadans in Jordan. And I have gained weight during both of them. Why is it that we Americans manage to put on five pounds while the rest of Jordan isn't even eating? The culprit - snacking.

Think about it. Every restaurant is closed. You can't even pick up a juicy shwarama from down the street. It's 1000 degrees in the shade. And in the kitchen, so cooking? Out of the question. We are stuck at home all day with no work to distract us. What do we do? Head to the supermarket and get some chocolate. And some chips. And maybe some bread and cheese. And some more chips. Oo, and some dip. And then we commence our afternoons of sitting on the couch and snacking.

Then all our friends get home from work. And it's time for iftar. So we all go out to dinner. Are we hungry after all that snacking? Not one bit. Do we eat because it's there and it's tasty? You betcha.

Apologies, jeans. You won't be fitting for a while.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Traveling Solo

Before coming to Jordan, I'd never really traveled by myself. Oh sure, I'd gone to see friends and grandparents around the U.S. and physically got there by myself. I even went on a trip to Australia "by myself..." at least up until I met and made friends with the rest of my group in Los Angeles... So technically I had friends before even getting to the Land Down Under.

No, what I mean is, I had never gotten on a plane by myself, flown to the destination by myself, stayed in a hotel by myself, eaten by myself and completed all activities by myself. Now I have done all of those things.

My first attempt at sightseeing solo was coming back from my delightful trip to Albania. I had a six-hour layover in Istanbul, and who wants to spend six hours in an airport when the famous Blue Mosque is right outside?

So off I went. And thank GOD I've already lived in the Middle East because if not those Turkish men would have eaten me alive. As it was, I was able to ask them for directions, get what I needed out of them and then take off WITHOUT being guilted into buying any of their cheap souvenirs OR getting hit on by them. Score. Saw the Blue Mosque. Check. Saw the Hagia Sophia. Check. Saw the Underground Basilica. Check. Saw the Topkapi Palace. Check. Back on the plane. Done.

Then, buoyed by my successful navigation of Istanbul, I immediately turned around and went to Dahab, Egypt, by myself. Snorkeled by myself. Saw the absolutely fantastic Blue Hole by myself. Ate by myself (does the flock of hungry cats constantly surrounding me count as company?). Got saddle sores from a camel by myself. Had a very relaxing, wonderful time.

And THEN, while I was in Palestine with Lena, I skipped out early and went to Bethlehem by myself.

And then I realized. Traveling by yourself opens up some wonderful options. You don’t have to wait or synchronize schedules with anyone. You only have to do exactly what you want to do. The world is open to whatever YOUR budget can handle; you don’t have to limit yourself to what your friends can afford. The world is your oyster, as they say.

But it is not half as much fun as going with friends.

The new love of my life...

For the last three months, since my laptop crashed at the end of June, I've been scrounging, borrowing, begging for, and outright stealing all of my friend's computers for my online needs. Thank you everyone who loaned me a computer! You are the best.

But now, thanks to my daddy's unlimited amount of love and overindulgence, I once again am the proud owner of a laptop that belongs to me and only me! Ah! It was love at first sight.

She is small and shapely. She is super fast and has all the latest gadgets. She is pure white and has a tattoo of an apple that lights up on her back. Best of all, she has enormous... amounts of data storage. My kind of woman.

So now, with the help of my lovely new Macbook, I shall attempt to fill you in on the events of the last couple of months.

To be honest, I was thinking of doing a goodbye blog post, cutting and running, but I realized I just couldn't do that to my fans. And by fans, I mean my friend Sabine, the only person left in the world still reading my blog. Thank you, Sabine! I dedicate this blog and all my future blogs to you. You have stuck with me long after even my parents got bored of my ponderings.

And so we continue...