Random reflections about Jordan:

There are images of King Hussein everywhere, in every classroom, on cars, on every storefront, on buildings and banners. Sometimes he is wearing full military uniform, sometimes a red kaffiyeh, sometimes an Armani suit. He is most often pictured by himself, but sometimes with his wife and children or with the Crown Prince, his oldest son. There clearly is a warmth and reverence for what feels like the Jordanian holy family.I am put in mind of Mexico and the images of the Virgin de Guadalupe in every house, every church, on cars, and t-shirts. As the patron saint of Mexico, she is a huge partann-blog-jordan1028.jpg of their national identity. Perhaps that is a clue to how Jordanians feel about their king.In the U.S., we do not have the same reverence for our government leaders. We put them on pedestals and then take delight when they fall from grace. Our leaders are humans, not divine. I wonder if having a king contributes to the sense of order here that so strongly contrasts with the intensity of Israel/Palestine. There is also more space in Jordan so people are not on top of one another and there is no competition over the land.

There is evidence of much wealth here. In and around the city of Amman, you can see many mansions that stand empty and car lots full of Mercedes and Ferraris. Of course, the next second, you see two guys riding past the Mercedes on donkeys. Middle East markets are always lively, but butcher shops here hang skinned carcasses of sheep and goats in shop windows with the detached heads of the animal just underneath, staring at you. Our guide tells us this is to identify whether the meat is imported or local. Quite a sight for a vegetarian!