Monday, November 16, 2009

Books at Cafe Amman


This happens all the time. I must have a GPS chip lodged somewhere in my body... but where?

I'm sitting at Books@Café which is THE place for foreigners in Jordan to congregate. A huge sprawling bar on top of a house overlooking the downtown area of Amman. Its decorated in a style of mixed pastels and flower power wall paintings with 'The Reflex' playing on the loud speaker. They sell out of date books at the basement but its one of the only places where you can buy a glass of wine, grilled cheese sandwiches, and cherry flavoured hookah pipes in Amman.

So, I just wrapped up a meetup with my friend Andy Jacobs who is heading a new film school here in Jordan sponsored by Steven Spielberg. Evidently after filming Indiana Jones 3 here, Spielberg has had some sort of love affair with Jordan and volunteered to help build the regions first film school. Andy and I have this great deal going on where he has this empty apartment on the beach and I 'volunteer' to house-sit while he is away on business.

So I'm sitting here with Andy discussing his IT strategy for his school and we here a voice at the table behind us saying... "So how the heck am I supposed to find this guy in Amman? Do I need to just go to Books@Café and just ask if anyone knows Andy?"

So we turned around, and just calmly said.. "Yes, as a matter of I'm Andy. Is there something I can help you with?"

Small world? Try microscopic.

This experience has led me to reflect back on all the times I bumped into people I know. This type of thing really does happen to me all the time. I even bumped into my friend Khaldoun on the road while driving out to Books@Café just an hour ago. The last time I was at Books...about 2 weeks ago... I ran into a dutch couple at the Halloween party and then the Italian guy from Syria I met at a UN party... Weird?

Even three days ago, I was doing another one of those "Lets go hang out at the beach (Andy's apartment) for a week while everyone is working thingamajigees" and before I know it my Japanese buddy Mitsu just happens to be showing the great majestic Red Sea to his mother who is visiting for a week.

And of course, one of the rare times I decide to walk down the road in the hot Jordanian sun, Crazy taxi driver buddy Akhmed screeches to a halt and offers to give me a ride to wherever I am going. Never mind that he has paying customers in his car at that moment who are wondering who the hell this Korean guy is.

I suppose I do have this talent for running into people I know. When I was a student in Tokyo, I happened to be travelling at some random temple in Kyoto 500 km away and happened to bump into my mom.

The cousin of my friend Shana came to visit from Chicago while I was in highschool in california. I asked if she knew a filipina friend of mine named Faith who lived in Chicago. Of course, this girl rolled her eyes and said ' duh... chicago has like only a few million people...' What happens next? They end up living on the same floor in their dormitory the next year during their freshman year.

Encounters can be unpleasant though... like the time I ran into an ex-girlfriend who had recently scrumpled my heart in an unfashionable Ren-and-Stimpy-take-a-tennis-racket-and-swat-the-beating-muscle-out-of-the-yard....Yeah..
We bumped into eachother again at a calistoga hotspring large enough for 8 people with her new boyfriend and myself accompanied with Elodie. Can you say "awkward???"

So the moral of the story here.. especially in Jordan is.. Do not piss anyone off. You WILL meet them again. Perhaps in a hotspring. Perhaps in a Buddhist temple. Perhaps at Books@café.

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