Yesterday, I went through security checks on two separate occasions while out and about in Amman. The first was at the entrance of Mecca Mall, the second at the main gate of the Meridian Hotel. It was only yesterday that I actually felt the aftermath of the 9 November terrorist attacks — an event I observed and blogged about remotely from my safe little space in the US. For me, these security stops served one major purpose: A reminder that my dear country was attacked and, sadly enough, remains under threat.
It was the first time for me to observe the ramifications of this drastic event up close and personal. It was surreal. It was also fascinating to see how Jordanians seem fully adjusted to this new lifestyle, marked by constant security checks and metal detectors. They stop at the security guards, turn over their belongings or get a quick search by the guards and then proceed with their mission; no muss, no fuss. I guess this has become part of mundane, daily existence in Amman.
Fortunately, the city is still buzzing with life, as usual. People are getting about everywhere with no sweat — an indication to me that the terrorists haven’t managed to instill fear into the hearts of Jordanians. Restaurants are packed and busy while the streets are more jammed than ever! I even saw a number of foreign faces while cruising around the city, proof that Jordan is still considered a safe haven by locals and foreigners alike. That was reassuring.
From my brief conversations with friends and family during the past few days, I think Jordanians are more worried about bird flu than an imminent terrorist attack. Although the WHO today declared Jordan bird flu free, Jordanians are still discussing whether eating chicken is a good idea or not.
Putting my quick observations aside, I’ve got to admit that I’m more in love with this place than ever. I really cannot it describe my feelings in mere words. In addition to Amman’s decided advantage of being the city that hosts the majority of my family and loved ones, this place has a unique flavor that never manages to disappoint me. It is the place where authenticity and originality still have a niche. It really is the place where I feel fully human. In a nutshell, I’m ecstatic to be here.