Saturday, 30 October 2010

Breakfast from Crumz and a Chinese for lunch

Yesterday morning I decided to treat Bobs with a nice breakfast; I took Bibs and off we went to Crumz, to get fresh bread and croissants. Crumz is located in Abdoun, not far from Abdoun mall or fitness first. The bread is nice and soft and the croissants not bad at all! There is also a large in-door sitting area to enjoy breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner. 

Entrance & out door terrace at Crumz

They even have special Halloween cup cakes, donuts and other cookies.

I then stopped at Starbucks for a coffee. This Starbucks drive through is just so handy, with Bibs in the car!

After a little swim - in-door now - as all the out-door pools are closed till next summer, we decided to try another Chinese restaurant, and we went to Chop Sticks in Swefeih, not far from Cozmo. Actually they serve Indian and Chinese food. Amazingly we haven't really given up finding somewhere to get our Chinese fix, but of course we were disappointed once more.

We had some dumplings, as usual made with chicken, they have a vegetable version as well. Then crispy chicken, which was indeed crispy, but hard as well, not that exciting. The best was probably the fried noodles, you can taste it was not a Chinese who had made them, but they were okay. The bill was 20JD. I guess it is the best we have tasted in Amman, but I doubt we will go back. Maybe the Indian food is better...

A week to go and we will have top Chinese food in Mauritius! So excited!
As usual, I have put the places on my map, the link is at the bottom of the page.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

a shop in downtown: it's all about Christmas decorations

So today, we took a small trip to downtown Amman. I don't go to downtown as much I would like. It is always so hot, so crowded, dirty - so, I feel not really a place for Bibs. My Australian friend (yes her again) told me about this little shop where she ordered Christmas decoration; she needed to go back to pick up her order so she took me along, with one of the other mums but without Bibs. Located on King Talal street, it is a tiny place, but we received such a warm welcome by the Armenian owner, Mr. Kokozian.
The Shop
The owner and artist, Mr Kokozian
The paint
Work in progress
He blows the glass and does all the painting himself. It is possible to buy the things exposed in the shop or to make an order. Obviously for Christmas he is very busy, but he works all year round. I ordered some balls for the tree, one with Bibs' name on. Price-wise the small balls are 7JD, the bigger ones 15JD and the biggest candle holder is 30JD.

Some of the decorations below

This one is a gift from the owner, I love it!
I am sure that the decorations will look beautiful on our tree! 

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Ammani Guide

One of my Australian friends passed me this guide about Amman, and in a way it's really great. There is tons of very useful info about the city if you are new here but also good for those you have been in Amman for a while and are still trying to figure out where you can get this or that brand or what the emergency numbers are.

It is divided in sections - like fashion, home, maps, shopping malls, services and even take away menus. It is renewed twice a year I guess and costs JD2.50/copy. You have the number to order on the picture above on the left - am going to order one today!
The city is divided up in some small but useful maps
Map of Mecca Mall - quite handy!

It is only made of ads and lists of shops but one of the difficult things about Amman is that you don't just go to one area and find all the shops that you need/are looking for - like in London if you go to Oxford Street well you spend the day and know that you have all the shops you need. Here you'll have one shop on this corner and one shop on that corner, and you have to drive in between - so unless I know that there is something to stop for I rarely go and discover shops - it is nearly mission impossible with a baby and stroller. I found shops in this guide I didn't know existed and I love it! For a Jordanian guide it's not bad at all.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Some beautiful Art: a visit to Silsal

Next week my really good Danish friend is heading home to the cold, home to Denmark for good with Bibs' best friend. We (the mums from our baby group) wanted her to have something spacial and Jordanian to take with her, so she doesn't forget us that fast. Upon recommendation I went to Silsal. It is such a surprising place, with the most tasteful and modern ceramics. It is nested between the 4th and 5th circles.

You will find everything there and for most budgets as well (don't be fooled by the prices you see on their web page). Beautiful vases, salad bowls, lamps, coffee sets - they even have a Christmas collection.

If you are looking for a little something (or a bigger something) to decorate your home in Amman or for a gift to bring back "home" this is really a place in Amman to consider going.

My salad bowl... I love it!
This is my first buy at Silsal and definitely not the last. I absolutely adore this shop. I read in their small leaflet that you can also see the "atelier",will do that when I go without Bibs. She thinks this place is a bit too interesting.

2 years ago...

we got married... 

the best day in our life... before the arrival of our princess of course!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

She makes me smile

Bibs is growing so fast. 14 months and a bit already! She has just started to walk and is so proud; she giggles all the time. Last week we were in a hotel lobby, she was walking holding my hand and screaming "haaaa" "hooo" all the time. She got all the attention from every single person, and was so happy about it.
Since she has started to toddle a bit around she started to wear shoes - now she always wants them on, well not exactly: we put on socks and shoes - we take off socks and shoes. Dozen of times during the day. Every time she laugh - she thinks it's hilarious.

Since she was a tiny baby, I have been reading for her and she adores books. Her new passion is for my recipe books. She'll sit and look very seriously at a recipe, get my attention and say "hmmm hmmm" pointing at a picture with a dish on. The best books are those with animals though, she listens carefully to all the sounds I can make and then sometimes she tries to repeat what I say.

Bibs loves when I cut her nails, specially the toe nails. She'll find my nail file and come with it, sit down and point on her toes - I know that means "mum get the nail clippers will you!" - and then we need to put a bit of cream on as well. She copies everything she sees us do. Daddy puts hair gel on in the morning and she sees it, at some point during the day she'll grab a tube of cream and pretend she does her hair.

The way she cuddles her soft toys, specially the last one. A true daddy present! She'll sit on him, lay on him, give him cuddles and kisses.

She couldn't stop laughing when she saw her new friend sitting in her stroller.

Her 2 other favorite soft toys: Peter Rabbit and little Rabbit
And then I love... the way she empties all the kitchen cupboards, and sometimes a pack of spaghetti as well; the way she laughs when she knows she is going to take her bath or the way she whinges when I don't quickly understand what it is she wants. The way she "dances" in her car seat or "sings" along to a song.

And I could go on and on...

Suddenly she is not our little baby anymore... she has transformed into this little girl, with so much personality. I love being mum. I love spending my days with her. I feel so fortunate to be able to stay at home and see her grow.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Water - Blog Action Day 2010

A few months ago, there was a series of articles in the Jordan Times concerning water problems in Jordan. I started a post that unfortunately I never finished. Today is Blog Action Day - an event held every 15th October - and this year's topic is water. Today is time for me to finish my post.

Jordan is the 4th most water deprived country in the world. I was actually very surprised to learn that. Obviously I knew it was bad but I didn't think it was that bad. The water distribution per capita in Jordan is 150 cubic metres. The international poverty line is of 1'000 cubic metres per capita. So as you can see we have a huge problem in Jordan.

One of the main sources of Amman's drinking water come from the wells in the south of the capital, and in June there were some serious cases of water theft. People have being pumping 100s of cubic meter per day over the last 6 months. The water is then used to irrigate farms, greenhouses (a greenhouse needs 800 cm/day and the thief in question had 40 of them) and of course filling swimming pools. The water company estimates that 7% of the capital's water is lost due to theft. In the whole of Amman, 700 violations are recorded monthly!
But then there are things I don't understand, and as for many things the Jordanian people need to be educated - well for those who have water because I am sure that in other areas of Amman you don't see what I see everyday:  misuse of water. Every morning when I walk with Bibs I see some example of how much people don't care, the water is there no? So why not wash the pavement in front of the buildings? It's so useful isn't it? the sand will only be back in a couple of minutes! or the immaculate green grass, or the really lush gardens with beautiful flowers, even in August when it is 45 degrees outside and the sun is burning, or the burst water pipes you see here or there.

I have always been very careful with the use of water. I come from a "non-bathtub" family haha - my mum got rid of them as soon as we moved into our house in Callas, France. When I was kid, we could go for weeks during the summer without water for most of the hours of the day. Of course today the problems don't exist anymore (the region is now linked up to a water canal), but during the summer it is still forbidden to fill swimming pools or to water gardens. Small things can make a big difference: stop the running water when brushing the teeth/washing hands, keep the water from the sink (when washing vegetables for example) to water the plants, forget the baths obviously and make the shower short. Here is a link for water preservation tips.

A very bad habit

We all have bad habits. The Jordanians street cleaners have one that really annoys me. Actually no, it scares me. Let me explain.

We have a clear land on the other side of the street. All the Egyptians (read the guys looking after the buildings) up and down the street put all type of stuff there: dead leafs, cut grass... Others stop with garbage as well, but it's not too bad really. But once in a while comes a guy from Amman Municipality, starts to clean whatever there is to clean and instead of putting it into a van or something, well they use a much easier solution: fire.

I hate fire. Really, I do. You might, or not, know that I grew up in south of France and there we respect fire. Most of the forests around the village where my parents live, have at some point been eaten by fire. Nearly all my male friends when I grew up were volunteer firefighters. That's what you do, when you are a guy in South of France: you risk your life for 7Euros (or how much it is) per hour during your week-end and holidays to save the fabulous environment in which they have the chance to live.

A small reminder of how beautiful it is

So, yeah that's what the street cleaners do: they burn. It doesn't matter that it hasn't rained in 4 full months. It doesn't matter that there is a bit of wind. The other day I came out of the shower and I smelled it instantly: fire. We are not talking big here, but that doesn't matter. The fire was slowly making its way under the olive trees and other pines that I have across the road.

With this I realised that I don't even know the emergency number in Jordan, I need to check that out. But apparently I was not the only one who thought that this was a bad idea as a little later there was a fire truck.

This is just again an example of lack of common sense. fire + wind + dry leaves and trees don't make a good mixture. There are plenty of areas in Amman where you can see that there has been a fire, and I suspect it's exactly the same as what happens in my street. This is not the first time i see it since we are here, at least this time I knew where the smell was coming from.

You can see how the fire has heated the trees...

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Fancy some spare ribs?

I had heard that there was a pork butcher in Amman, but didn't have a clue where he was hiding: until one of my Japanese friends told me she was going: please please take me along, and she did! It is located off Mecca Street at the level of 7th circle (it's on my map!)

Obviously he doesn't have lots of cuts, but he does fresh minced pork (great for won-tons or meatballs), he has some sausages (the same as what you can find in Cozmo), bacon and then some frozen things as well, including racks of spare ribs! The area where it is located there is also a small supermarket and other shops (including a liquor store).

These are the meatballs we make in Denmark, called frikadeller. I just love them and Bibs as well!

And then we had sweet-and sour pork, Mauritian style. Made with spare-ribs. It is very easy to make and so delicious. Here is the recipe:

500g of spare-ribs (cut in 5cm pieces)
3 onions - chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic - chopped
1 nice piece of ginger - sliced - I put lots!
1 chili - optional
3 tomatoes
concentrated tomato sauce/paste
6-8 tbsp white vinegar - in Mauritius you use sugar cane vinegar
3-4 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
fresh coriander

You start with frying the spare ribs in oil until golden, add onions, garlic, chili and ginger. Let it fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, the ketchup, tomato concentrate, 1 table spoon of vinegar, 1 tea spoon of sugar, the salt and pepper. Add a little water, reduce the heat, cover and leave for an hour - checking that it doesn't stick to the pot from time to time. Add more water if needed. The pork should get of the bone very easily. Taste the sauce and correct with more vinegar and sugar as wanted. Serve with rice and coriander leaves. You can also add vegetables in the dish: carrots for example.

Sweet and Sour pork - Mauritian style
Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Amman's Bird park

View of the Bird Park
Yes, Amman has a bird park. A friend of mine had told me about it before I arrived to Amman, but I had completely forgotten about it until a taxi driver mentioned that he had taken his kids to it. I decided to take Bibs straight away! She loves animals, so I thought it would be a good idea. Yesterday, I picked up my friend and her daughter and went to the park: it was closed, it was Tuesday. I returned today, and yes it was a success.

The park is located in Shmeisani. It is very small, not many exotic birds to look at, but for Bibs it was perfect: ducks, geese, chicken of all sorts or peacocks...

Look at the size of their feet!

Demoiselle crane

More than that it is a nice place to walk around with a stroller, there are benches everywhere, shade.

And there is a very nice playground area. It is really big. The only problem is that it is mostly in the sun. But then the days are beginning to be a bit cooler (only 30 degrees today) - soon it won't matter that much.

Entrance fee: 20 piastres or 200 fils (for those who are more comfortable with old currency!). So really not much. There is a small parking place next to the entrance, otherwise it is not that difficult to park in the area. As usual it is on my map. It is not that difficult to find, between 5 and 10 minutes from the 5th circle.

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