Monday, June 20, 2011

Queen Alia Int'l Airport Makes My List...

...of airports that are actually pleasant to transit. In 2003, there was one (bad) Pizza Hut, horrid, hard plastic seating, clouds of smoke, and a restroom attendant so unaccustomed to international travellers that, misinterpreting my short hair and slacks, she nearly suffered apoplexy when I attempted to enter the Ladies'. There's now a lovely array of cafes and shops, and I don't just mean the horrid Marlboro-and-Glenlivet Duty Free variety.
From my well-padded perch in "World News Cafe," I espy sumptuously tempting displays of  Jordanian sweets and both Middle Eastern and Euro-style bistros. And yes, American fast food, for the KFC-and-pizza deprived. I have free wireless, and the smokers have been banished to an unfurnished room across from the toilets. At the cheerfully functioning foreign exchange desk,  I swapped a handful of leftover bills in various currencies for enough Jordanian Dinars to indulge in a cappucino,  perfectly-pulled by a Tunesian barrista, and a pressed chicken tikka sandwich. Given Amman's explosive growth, none of this is especially shocking. What I did find amazing was the New Dress Code. Its been shifting westward for awhile now, but never, in all my days, did I expect to see - wait for it - Arabic Men Wearing Shorts. In Their Own Home Country.  It's like seeing adults wandering about the streets in their pajamas and fuzzy slippers. Oh, wait, I forgot. That's something we do see every day now, back on our home campus. Times are a-changin' all around.

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