Final chapter of my trip to Jordan
Remote Air base in the desert — I’m up before the sun because between all of the coffee and tea I had consumed and the jetlag sleep was not an option.
I hit the shower, which left me wide-awake because both the hot water and the shower curtain were missing from my VIP suite. Breakfast consisted of eggs, flatbread, olive oil, a pile of green powdery stuff, yogurt and some unidentified sweet cubes… but no silverware. I learned that you don’t need silverware because in Jordan flatbread can scoop, sop and scrape an entire meal.
The road to Amman — After another morning of inspecting, detecting and selecting aircraft the General and his driver came to pick me up. They drove me to Amman via a different “highway” than we used the first day.
This “highway” was a mostly paved road through the Northern Bedouin Tribal region of Jordan that was almost wide enough for two cars to safely pass each other… almost. We passed more tent dwelling Bedouins, free roaming camels, herds of goats and a huge UN refugee camp as we played high-speed chicken with oncoming traffic. It was at once intriguing, fascinating and terrifying or, as they call it in the Middle East, a drive in the country.
Greater Amman — We arrived in the city several hours before my 1 a.m. flight so the General dismissed his driver and we set out to see the local sights. I saw women walking downtown wearing shorts and tank tops, which struck me as odd until we were cut off in traffic by a woman wearing a full burka driving a red Ferrari. We drove by Mt Nebo where Moses found the Ten Commandments on the way to Madaba where we strolled through Christian church over 1500 years old, which is just down the street from the Mosque of Jesus.
I decided that Jordan is like an interesting woman; mysterious, beautiful, a little scary and full of contradictions.
Somewhere over the Mediterranean Sea — There are no business class seats on the red-eye flight from Amman so I reserved a window seat on the emergency exit row to ensure I had room to stretch out and sleep during the four-hour flight to Paris.
What I hadn’t counted on was the 5-year-old kid sitting behind me whose little legs were just long enough to kick the back of my seat … which he did every time I started to dose off. I was going to complain to his father until I discovered the poor guy was traveling alone with an infant and the pre-school hoodlum behind me. I figured this guy was about one stressor away from going full jihad so I shut up and sat on my pillow all the way to Paris.
Air France Airbus 380a seat 85G (upstairs) — After arriving in Paris and fighting to stay awake through a four hour layover, I am finally strapped into my luxurious business class seat on the upper deck of this giant European flying machine. There is no juvenile assailant behind me, my seat is actually a recliner and they’ve given me a pillow and blanket to snuggle in for a long snooze during the almost 12-hour flight to San Francisco.
Minutes later as I doze off it hits me; the first gurgle in my gut then the first desperate run to the restroom. I had experienced Montezuma’s Revenge but this was my first experience with Mohammad’s Revenge, which is basically the same thing except it only hits you when you start to fall asleep.
I spent more time in the head during that flight than I did in seat 85G!
Back in the good ol’ USA — My arrival in San Francisco and continuing flight to Reno were relatively uneventful; but my gut was still conducting regular terror attacks on me so I stopped eating and only drank enough water and coffee to keep me awake for the final drive home.
I was sitting on the couch at home regaling my family with stories of my journey when I literally fell over asleep on the couch.
I slept hard for several hours before I woke to that familiar gurgle and made the dash to the head. I’ll bet it was that green stuff I had for breakfast … maybe I was supposed to season my food with it instead of snorting it.
It’s good to be home!
Rick Seley, an award-winning humor columnist, may be reached at email@example.com