Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Embassy Entanglements

I arrived in Jordan on the 25th with only one thing that I absolutely had to do before traveling to Syria on October 4th:  I needed to go to the American Embassy to get more visa pages put in my passport (I'd say that means I travel a lot, but it actually just means that Arab visas take up way too much space.  The pages are divided into fourths for a reason guys).  I first went with my cousin Abed on Sunday in the early afternoon, only to be turned away in a very Arab fashion by the Jordanian guard with a curt "Tomorrow.  9:30".  Feeling slightly rebuffed and more than a little surprised we went back to the house.  I thought that going to the U.S. Embassy would involve being surrounded by a bastion of American efficiency, but apparently I was wrong.  I went to the website and realized that the services for American citizens department is only open for three hours every day, until 12:30 pm.  Thinking that maybe Arab bureaucracy had somehow osmotically influenced this particular Embassy, I looked at different Embassy websites only to discover that apparently the U.S. government despises providing convenient services abroad (on second thought, domestic governmental services are not exactly streamlined).  However, 3 days and $82 later, my passport now has 22 slightly uneven extra pages.  So who can complain?

Anyway, the stay in Jordan has otherwise been quite uneventful.  There isn't a whole lot to do when everyone remotely close to your age actually has school or work during the day.  Thus, my days have consisted of a healthy amount of sleep and internet surfing, rounded out with nightly outings with the cousins to various locations in Amman.  Syria will be a welcome challenge. Just like T-Rex says, travelling off the beaten path is the best way: