We slept in today. We feel we have done Jordan pretty darn well, and the last few days we are going to take it easy.
For today we planned to see a bit of the modern art side of Jordan. It is not a big thing yet, but Amman is supposed to have a nice contemporary art space.
Andrew from the hotel wrote down the name in Arabic for us to give to the taxi. All seemed to go well, and we were dropped of next to a gallery. Just not the gallery we were after.. Oh well, we are here, so might as well go for a look.
The outside area has a few nice pieces against the walls and some sculptures.
Inside a few rooms were devoted solely to photography. The photo’s were by an artist born in Jerusalem, who had been taking photo’s since the 1930’s. He also owned a collection of photographs going back to 1890. There was a combination of these on show. Mostly photo’s of people and normal life back in the days. There were some amazing pictures of people in traditional dress and city scapes far different from what we have seen on our trip. It made us wish we would take more photo’s of people..
After the visit to this gallery, we had to find out how to get to the gallery we intended to go to. We could see a few landmarks, as we were on one of the many hills of Amman. Still, the street name was not on our small map.. We wondered up a bit, but decided we might as well walk all the way down, find out were we are, and go from there. Very good choice, as a couple of hundred meters down the road we found the gallery! No idea why the taxi had not dropped us of there in the first place.
We started with a little room called “the lab”. There were some photo’s done with a very old technique and with water reflections in them. Well done, but a bit depressing and not that interesting to tell the truth.
Of to the side in a room was a video installation. A women filmed a few days in a row her walk from home to work, across one of the many checkpoints put up by the Israelis in the west bank. She had to walk a bout 2 km every way as they do not allow car on this bit of road. She was off course not allowed to film, so we mostly got shots of her feet. This was filmed from a hole in her bag, as the first time she tried, the police confiscated the film and threw her American passport in the mud. It was not that interesting either. The shots of her walking past an APC, and other people making their way to and from the west bank. In the blurb, she mentions that the Israelis can close off the strip of road whenever they feel like it. Firing tear gas and live rounds into the street just because they feel like it. If we had stayed to watch the whole thing there may have been something in it, but the two days we sat through were not that interesting. Just people walking.
From here we had to find the rest of the exhibitions. There is another couple of buildings further down the hill. This is the main section, and out the front there is a Byzantine church. This has had some of the pillars restored, and a small alcove where the alter was. Andrew tried to conduct a mass there for his new church, but no one was interested in attending, and even Anna walked away when he started preaching.
The layout of this museum is very confusing. Walking around we found what we thought was the main entrance, but this turned out to be locked, and we went up the other side. There is a small seating area here, and it is the perfect place to relax. A small fountain, and trees providing shade. We were able to get a couple of freshly squeezed juices here, and this topped off the experience. However we could not sit here all day, and still wanted to see what the museum had to offer. Inside another building is an exhibition by an amateur Palestinian artist that was criticising Israel and the USA. These were 3D reliefs done with glue and sawdust.
They were pretty good, if gruesome. He was present at a massacre of 100+ people, and all his work reflects this. Another had a statue of Saddam Hussein being overthrown by American cockroaches. That was really well done. There was another section that were lines in the sand. Coloured lines on a canvas with sand glued on to give it texture. This was about all we could find in the gallery. We are sure we missed a lot, but it was so confusing finding which buildings were administrative, and which were galleries.
Calling it done, we walked further down the street, and it turned into the street that we had caught the taxi from in the first place. It was only 100m from where we had started!
Back at the hotel we decided to blog some more, and try to catch up to where we should be. After a while of this we were ready for dinner. Although we are both a little sick of Hommus and Felafel, we had promised Abu Hamsa yesterday evening, that we would go and see him at Hashim’s. He was there and glad to see us. Even taking a bit of time off to come talk to us, but as it was busy (It always is. 24/7) he had to go back to work. We ended up with every dish they do. Fool (Beans) Hommus, felafel and Feta. The feta was brilliant, and we hadn’t had any in Jordan yet. It was a filling meal as always, and comes highly recommended to anyone visiting Jordan. Its also cheap! 4JD for more than we can eat…
That about sums up the day, and we have to get some sleep, as we have a day of shopping ahead of us tomorrow.
The 16th was supposed to be a day of shopping. Anna wanted some new clothes. Unfortunately the clothing sold here either cover a women from enkel to wrist, or makes her walk around half naked. There doesn’t seem to be an inbetween. Anna gave up pretty quickly. (To be fair, we only tried the streets in downtown Amman, not the big malls elsewhere)
We spent the afternoon with a few arabic coffees and a shisha (nargileh) in an all mens cafe. One final falafel sandwich for lunch. We have had many, many falafel sandwiches and by now we are happy to leave them behind.
Looking forward to Paris!