Friday, 30 April 2010

Another friday afternoon in Amman

Today the weather was a bit dull - a bit cold, some rain, some wind... All in all not fab. So after a very lazy morning with decided to try out a chinese restaurant and we headed to the New Shanghai Restaurant located somewhere in between Abdoun and Sweifiyeh. "New", because apparently there is an "Old" one as well, located in Jabal Amman.

This is the building; the restaurant in located on the first floor.

The entrance to the restaurant...

So to the review... it was ok. Just ok. We had wantan soup - which was actually nice. The broth had a good taste, the wantan were small but tasty. The other good thing was the fried noodles. The rest under average. The service was Jordanian - not very effective, certainly not Chinese! We paid 24JD, so not fantastically cheap either.

Fried noodles - ok not the most appetizing, but actually ok

There is another Chinese restaurant that we really want to try, located behind the first circle, just didn't fancy trying to find something without success!

As we came home I decided to open a Twitter account. I have been thinking about it for some time. So if you are on Twitter, please come and join me: - ok I admit I don't have clue what all these Twitts and stuff are about but I thought I would give it a try.

But you see, it's not just "another friday afternoon". Certainly not. There are some very proud parents in Amman tonight. Today, Bibs decided that she wanted to start to crawl - she did her first very unsteady moves on the floor today, towards Daddy (of course!). Well shhhhhhh don't tell him - she did a small trial a bit earlier. But a tiny trial, so I'll say that yes, the first crawl was indeed for Daddy...

Ahhh Daddy's girl!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

An Ammanite speciality

I don't even know if it exists "Ammanite" but how else could I name something/someone from Amman?

There is this little speciality that I wanted to share; they are everywhere in the city and I find them quite amazing, a kind of art really.

These ones look like they are going somewhere!

I don't get how they can get so big & so green! There can't be a lot of water in these holes.

There are lots so I'll post about some even more fancy ones (have spotted them already, just need to take the pictures!).

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Married at 15?

I don't receive the Jordan Times at home - maybe I should - but sometimes when I have the time, I mean by that: Bibs asleep... - I go onto to their website and have a quick read through the news. And this morning I nearly choked.

Appearently, a new legislation gives the possibility for a girl to get married at 15. Well surely that can only be a mistake? In countries like France, it has been going in the opposite direction: for 200 years, girls could marry at 15, but since 2006, they have to be 18. I mean, at 15 even though I wanted to be very grown up, I was still a kid - and I am pretty sure that it is the same for Jordanian girls.

How on earth is such a young girl going to take care of a husband, a house, kids? Because married=children. Mum at 15? Their bodies are not ready! I am 30-something (don't want to think about it... less than a month to my birthday, again!) - and I can't cope with having food on the table, baby in bed and being all smiles when my hubby comes back from work - so not wanting to underestimate anybody here but how is a 15 year old going to? - just want to add that I do the smiling part and that Bobs is happy to see his girl.

Would parents really consider giving a girl away at 15? well unfortunately I suppose so... How on earth will women ever get a proper education, a place in the Jordanian society? Jordan is working so hard to have a well deserved place amongst modern and developped countries and then somebody, somewhere comes out with this? It is sad, very very sad...

Monday, 26 April 2010

The other place closest to my heart

After Mauritius last week, let me show you a few pictures from the place where I grew up: Callas, "Le coeur du Var". Located on a hill top, in Var, it is a very sleepy village, but I found, a fab place to grow up.


Foutain where I used to hang out as kid

This leads up in the mountains, I used to love discovering and haven't lost that!

Left: some steps in the village & an old lavoir at the bottom. Right: typical view from the village

I have to pay tribute to my mum's garden! She spends so much time taking care of it...

A few shots of my mum's garden!

Minette, the cat of the house! And also mine...
my parents have been looking after her for the last 13 years

There are quite a few things to talk about, I'll do that next time we visit my parents, but just one thing: some very good friends of mine opened their own "Cave" last year and are selling their wine. If you are in the region you shouldn't miss out on their rose which is fab and so refreshing. La Bastide du Plan

La Bastide du Plan - located a little before the entrance of the village

If you ever have the possibility to go to the Cote d'Azur, make sure you also discover the "arriere pays" as we call it, there are so many lovely small villages to discover, with their markets, small restaurants serving loval food, caves or chateaux where you can stop for wine testing... more on that this summer!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

King Hussein Park

It seems the good weather is back over Amman. I hope this time to stay. It is not because we live in the Middle East that the weather is fab every day, ok most of the time it is! But outdoor lounges are now starting to open in the hotels around the city - Grand Hyatt is opened already and the Sheraton very soon... So I guess it means, summer is on it's way! But that's not what I wanted to post about today. I wanted to talk a bit about King Hussein park, that's also a thing to enjoy now that the weather is nice and still not too hot!
This is week I took Bibs to King Hussein park for a walk. I met up with a Danish friend of mine and her daughter. And off we went for the discovery of the park. It is located on the outskirts of town, opposite City Mall. It is a large park located on a hill: at the top you have the Royal Automobile Museum, the Children's Musuem and the King Hussein Mosque. The museums are closed on tuesdays, I haven't been in either of them. However I have heard some very good things about the Children's Museum and will certainly go and visit very soon - I guess when it is too hot to be outside! The Mosque I haven't visited either, I must go and check it out (if I am allowed to enter - maybe some fellow bloggers know??)

King Hussein Mosque

Last time I was there, it looked very bare but now the trees are green and provide shade. You will often see families picnicking under the trees, young couples on a date sitting and chatting, or groups simply enjoying the weather and smoking a shisha.

Half way down in the park, there is what is called the "village". It is a small area with some arts, a fountain, a few small ceramic shops and a rather large cafe/restaurant where you can enjoy something refreshing in the heat. I don't really know the opening times, so I cannot assure that it is open all year/every day!

This is the entrance to the so-called "village"
Some of the sculptures

Views of the Park

The bottom of the park, I haven't visited. I know there are some basketball fields and I have heard about a little train as well but haven't actually seen it... will let you know if I find it!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Indochine @ the Grand Hyatt

A couple of times now we have had dinner at the Grand Hyatt's Indochine, the Vietnamese restaurant located in the basement of the hotel. The restaurant has a lovely colonial feel to it with its wooden shutters and lazy fans in the ceiling. The kitchen is open into the restaurant, something I really like. It is to the smoking section though and the non smoking section is unfortunately not as charming, it is like less effort has been put into it. It's funny isn't it? When you could still smoke in restaurants in the US and Europe it was the other way around! Smokers would end up in the corner next to the toilets, well here it is still the other way around - ok not everywhere but most places.

Entrance to the restaurant

Food wise, the appetizers are not disappointing. Lovely crispy nems, tasty dumplings or shrimps fried in a light batter. The main courses are nice - sauteed beef with ginger and spring onions or a green curry, lots of fish and sea foods on the menu as well. Haven't really tasted the deserts, but they make their own ice cream and the green tea and the lemon ones are nice. But the best thing - and it is not on the menu - is the Vietnamese soup Pho: a lovely and tasty broth with beef and noodles. The service is friendly, not overly effective, but then it rarely is in Jordan. Let's talk money: you have to count 50JD at least for 2 without wine - so not cheap, but then you are at the Grand Hyatt, so it is expected.

Starters @ Indochine

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Proud Mummy!

I have never done 2 posts in the same day. But I have to. I am just so proud. Bibs is growing so fast; these past 10 days have been so eventful, I have to share it. She is now waving - ok very randomly but she thinks it's so much fun! She has started to clap her hands as well, it just looks so cute, as these 2 small hands come together and she grins all over her face.

Feeding as changed as well. Before I used to give her small pieces of her biscuits or fruit in her mouth so she could eat it. Now she wants to hold it herself and bites and chews! 2 days ago she started to feed me as well. It is just so lovely. She takes some food in her hand and stretches her arm towards me; then she laughs as I approach my mouth.

All this is just fab, but now comes what made my day today. She was sitting on the floor playing and she has got into the habit of throw things a little bit away from her, and then get upset cause she couldn't reach them. Well this morning just reached for her favorite train wagon. Lands on her belly, looks at me very unhappily, like "mummy help me", but I decided to stay put and she then started to get up again and manged to get into sitting position! She just looked so happy and so proud of herself. Laughing and grinning and tapping the wagon and a block together. It was truly a victory for her. Since she has done it several times and just loves it!

I am so proud of my little princess! Of course this brings a new tiny problem. Missy doesn't have the time to sleep and when I try to put her to bed she just sits up and starts playing... Exciting times ahead!

Earth Day 2010

Yes, yes after earth hour last month, we now have earth day. I think it's not bad that our dear and old planet gets a bit more attention than an hour. As they say in the UK "every little helps"! And our planet needs it. Desperately. One can only wonder if all the natural catastrophes and variations this year have something to do with it all?  Earthquakes which have costs too many lifes, storms, floods, snow in abundance and lastly of course the volcano eruption in Iceland which is still paralysing half of Western Europe. Is our planet rebelling? Is Earth telling us that it has had enough?

Tomorrow, 22nd April is the day. The 40th celebration of what is the largest civic event worldwide. You can go on their website to get ideas of easy things you can do every day to lessen your impact and help our planet! Here in Jordan, I must say that the thing that is choking me he most is the use of plastic bags. I mean I could open a whole shop with all those I have at home. I think that supermarkets should change their habits a bit and tell their packing guys to be a bit more careful with the use of these bags. I tell them to put more things in the bags, they listen for one bag and then they'll continue as they usually do. One of the supermarkets, Cozmo, has done a little bit for the awareness. This week you get one of these when you shop with them.

Of course, you can't really reuse them, but the idea is there, and small ideas like this can do wonder. The problem is here there is nothing done recycling wise, I mean not really. Yes you can take your bottles with you to an embassy - but then with a baby in a stroller etc. it is not easy to organise! I have seen a lorry drive around and pick up cardboard - but I have seen it once - and it didn't look like it was organised by Amman Municipality. Every day I see people throw cans, paper and plastic out of their car window. Every time we drive out of Amman, I see plastic bags lying around, because people are too lazy, or don't care, to take it with them home after picnicking.

We don't really buy small plastic bottles anymore; if I am I make sure I reuse it for some time. And then I have decided that I am going to bring the plastic bags back to the shops and use them when doing my groceries.

So, what will you be doing to celebrate Earth Day 2010?

Monday, 19 April 2010

High Tea in Amman

Yesterday I went for afternoon tea with a friend and her daughter, who is the same age as Bibs. We chose the Sheraton and had a lovely time in their Green Lounge. I have always liked High Tea, there is something indulgent about it! The first time ever I went for tea was at the Savoy Hotel in London, my sister took me along with my boyfriend at the time (who happens to be Bobs!) as well as one of my nieces. I loved it and have ever since.

This is the entrance at the Sheraton - The Green Lounge is just up the stairs

We got lovely small sandwiches, as my friend says, it tastes so much better when they are cut out in small pieces and the crust is off! There was cheese, egg, cucumber, salmon... And then small scones with cream and strawberry jam. The tea selection is really nice, they have the usual Darjeeling or early grey, but also some more exotic ones, named Paradise or 1001 nights.

The "Perfect Tea Timer" - Love it!

And of course high tea would not be complete without cakes. And let me tell you the cakes at the Sheraton are Yummy, I mean real Yummy!! There was in particular this small strawberry tart, with a short crust and then a light cream underneath.

Yummy cakes!

The girls behaved, sitting in the sofas and enjoying themselves, playing with their toys and tasting some of the sandwiches. They are very baby friendly and don't mind the bit of mess and high talking those small darlings can do. Oh! forgot the price, 7.5JD (plus tax and service charge), so really not expensive for a lovely couple of hours spent in a nice environment.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Longing for Holidays...

We have started to talk about holidays, when and where to go. I love that: looking for tickets, where to stay, what to do, all the planning. I always try to do a lot of research, so that we can discover as much as possible. So this morning I was looking through some of ours pictures and thought I would share a little bit with you. I have quite a few so I might do this once a week or so.

We are missing Mauritius specially. We haven't been in quite a while. Well since our wedding 18 months ago so I'll start with our favourite island.

These are both views from Hotels - to the left it's Belle Mare Plage, to the right Le Meriden
Belle Mare Plage Hotel is one of the best places we have stayed

These are from The Oberoi (right) and Sofitel (left)

Cap Malheureux, at the north of the Island

Grand Baie - The North of the Island has the best beaches and the clearest water
Food stalls at Grand Baie - Mauritian food is just so tasty
You can easily eat from these stalls, the only thing is that the food is quite spicy!
I really like this one, not bad considering it is shot while we were driving!
And of course, I couldn't post about Mauritius, without adding a picture from our wedding.

Ah holidays...

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Goodbye to the Danish Embassy in Amman

I read last night on the Danish Ambassador to Jordan's blog that due to budgetary costs, the Danish Embassy in Amman is closing it's doors on September 1st of this year.

The Embassy opened only 3 years ago and as a Dane I find it very sad that my little country will not be represented any more in the country where I live. Jordan and Denmark have many things in common - both kingdoms, both small countries with a little population and few resources. That creates people who know how to think creatively, outside the box.

You can read more in an article from the Jordan Times.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Our friday afternoon...

Apart from Supermarkets, no shops are opening before 2pm - and that are the malls only, the rest remain completely shut on Fridays. So in the beginning of the afternoon we took the car. We needed to do some grocery shopping. That consists of at least 2 different supermarkets. But before that we had to leave our street and we got stuck; not because of road works or kids playing on the middle of the road, but more some kind of traffic jam. The only thing being that the cars were not moving - like nobody at the wheel not moving! We hit the midday Friday prayer. Cars were parked, and double parked, leaving only just enough space for one car to slalom in between. Well until the car in front of us stopped. The driver waited, so we waited. The driver got fed up waiting, so did the obvious thing: he got out, closed the car and joined the rest of the men praying. We had 2 choices: either wait and get caught in a massive mess with all the cars wanting to leave at the same time or reverse. We chose the obvious: reversing.
The Mosque in our street
On each side of the cars, men rised after their prayer

One stop at City Mall and Carrefour to buy fish and one stop at Cozmo to buy fruits, vegetables and yogurts for Bibs. And then a new discovery... we stopped at Korean Gardens. No, no, unfortunately I haven't suddenly discovered a new garden where I can walk with Bibs. It is a Korean Supermarket and a paradise for noodle eaters, like Bobs.

There is a restaurant over the supermarket - they do not do take-aways (must be the only restaurant in Amman!)

As usual I update the map at the bottom of the main page.

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