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I'll Miss the Red Sea

9:28 am

Aqaba, Jordan

Today is my final day in Aqaba. I’m writing from the air-conditioned marble floored lobby of Jett Bus, which will take me to Amman on a four-hour journey. Someday when I’m asked what I did in Aqaba for 5 days I’ll take a long pause and wrack my brain before responding, “That’s a damn good question.”

Still, it was a productive and important time for me. I wrote, read, and thought a great deal, which I suppose was the entire point of this trip. I didn’t necessarily do anything I wouldn’t have done in say, Pasadena, or Manhattan, but the new setting offered a much-needed jolt in perspective.

I’ll miss the kind and rather demur security guard; a short middle-aged man who smiled each time I crossed his path en route to my room. I’ll miss the Chicken Tikka restaurant I frequented so much the waiter knew before ordering I didn’t want the deep-fried bread. I’ll miss the long walks, while blasting an audiobook or the early 90s hip-hop of my youth, and how the lyrics and beats temporarily took me back to a place where all seemed new and possible. And of course, I’ll miss the Red Sea.

I won’t miss the incredibly aggressive cab drivers who assume just because you are on foot you need a ride. I wonder the parallels between being constantly barraged by the honking of green Mitsubishi’s and a pretty girl being ogled and cat called as she walks down a busy street. After a while your demeanor shifts and it incrementally becomes more of a challenge to be rosy all the time.

My bus should be boarding shortly. I was told by the concierge to specify that I needed to be dropped off at the 3rd Circle once we reached Amman. I felt briefly as if I were in a Hobbit movie when she told me.

Still, I can’t wait to tell my friend Sean’s fiancée, Joyce that “her peeps” were represented in A-town as were my own. Last night as I returned from a rather long and wonderfully aimless stroll, I came back to find a lobby full of Korean tourists. My mom will get a kick out of this, I thought. See you back in Amman.

While waiting for my bus I saw a Jordanian man sporting a t-shirt that read, “The Worst Mistake is to Not Make Any.”

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