Tip #459: Setting Up for the Second Train the Trainer in Amman

“For most of my life the only ceremonies I’ve been to at which women were the stars were weddings. So I like weddings.” Anna Quindlen

Tarek picked me up to go to the hotel to set up all over again. I must admit that it took much longer without Maha’s two little girls to help. The reason why they weren’t there is pretty horrific. There was a violent demonstration at the Dead Sea yesterday and Maha’s cousin, who is a policeman, was shot. I just spoke with her tonight. His surgery was successful and he is now out of danger.

Lina and I set up, with assistance from one of the hotel staff. I made sure NOT to leave out the Koosh or the glitter wands.  I’m three down on both the Koosh and the glitter wands.

A somewhat troubling fact was that five or six families came in to check out the hall for weddings. Lina and I are both praying that these weddings aren’t scheduled for this week. We really don’t want to take everything down and put everything up all over again, as we did last week.

We heard some very loud music and Lina said that they were getting ready for a wedding downstairs. We went to look and it was magnificent. The bride and groom sit on a beautiful white couch, surrounded by what look like large white half moons that reach almost to the ceiling.

Lina also explained the Moslem wedding ceremony. The bride and groom enter the room and exchange rings. Then they slow dance. Then others dance. Then the cake is presented. At 10: 30 p.m., dinner is served. The wedding couple dines alone in a separate location. When they return to the hall, the bride wears something different. (Now I understand Arwa’s wedding photos. In one photo, she is wearing a white dress with a tiara and veil. In another photo she is wearing an embroidered gold dress and her head is bare).

After that, each guest takes a picture with the wedding couple. Instead of gifts, they give money.

When the bride and groom leave, so do the guests. The wedding couple’s car has a huge bouquet of white flowers on the trunk. Lina said that the guests speed around the couple’s car and often stop in the middle of the road to get out and dance! It sounds pretty crazy.

Lina showed me photos of her cousin’s wedding this past weekend. She also showed me photos of Petra, which looks fascinating. She warned me that I will need a hat and lots of water, because it is exceptionally hot there and you walk a lot. I’ll work on that.

We discussed my trip to Petra and Aqaba next weekend, considering a variety of arrangements. It’s good that we talked, because she had planned to have me stay overnight (in a tent on the ground, sharing a filthy shower) in Wadi Rum (no thank you!) and to simply shop rather than snorkel in Aqaba.

Now the plan is for a driver to take me to Petra and then to Aqaba, where I will stay at a hotel overnight so I can snorkel there. Then a different driver will bring me back to Amman.

After we finished setting up, Lina asked me if I’d like to get some dinner (as she had done after we finished setting up last Saturday). Since I hadn’t had lunch, I was certainly ready for dinner. We went to a new restaurant and had an absolutely wonderful meal of pink (!!) humus, bread, a terrific salad and a chicken and vegetable dish (that was so large I have some for tomorrow’s dinner). The only drawback to the restaurant was the fact that lots of people were smoking shisha and, by the time we left, you could barely see through the smoke (no lie).

Lina told me that smoking shisha is comparable to smoking a pack of cigarettes at one time. Yikes!

When she dropped me off at the hotel, I considered taking a walk to air off my clothing and my lungs (!), but it was almost 8 p.m.- and I needed to finish the exam questions and submit them.

May your learning be sweet.


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