Middle East, 1999, chapter 20, belly dancing in amman

june 23, 1999 amman, jordan i've lost track of time in the magical forests of mitzpeh amuka for almost a week. so, waking up in the cool morning air one eventful morning, i decide to re-immerse myself in harsh mideastern reality again and continue my trip - by finally taking off for jordan. i've been trying to convince tzipper to go with me for days. perhaps that's one of the reasons why i've been hanging around so long. he's been to jordan before. he has a car. he knows the ropes. i'm hoping my patience and rhetoric will be rewarded. but -- life isn't necessarily fair. th

Middle East, 1999, chapter 21, pissed on and off the kings’ highway

kings' highway, jordan june 24, 1999 i'm rolling along the kings highway - racing the sun south - from amman to petra, the fabled rose-colored, sandstone-carved city of the ancient nabateans. getting a rental car on friday, in closed-for-sabbath amman has eaten up most of the day, and there's a lot to see. first stop - madaba. to make up for some of my lost time, i decide to skip jerash, the supposedly classical roman jewel in the mountains of gilead. it's a painful but necessary decision. one of the most difficult of travel. which sites to see, which to skip. it's just

Middle East, 1999, chapter 22, petra, the cliff’s notes version

june 25, 1999 petra, jordan okay. i've driven the kings' highway from daybreak and finally arrived. without incident. petra. rose colored city of the nabateans. the one must see sight in all of jordan. by eight o'clock, i've changed some money with an ATM card at the local bank of jordan in wadi musa, eaten a quick continental breakfast (even though i'm on a different continent), and i've paid my twenty dollar admission to the once-lost, but now very-found, ancient city of petra. in fact, that's my first impression of this great triumph of the ancient arabic world - it's

Middle East, 1999, chapter 23, wadi rum

                                                                                              wadi rum     june 25-26, 1999 well, i've made my decision to leave petra, and i'm back on the kings' highway, again racing the sun south, this time towards wadi rum, the magical and sprawling desert of lawrence of arabia. right near the saudi border. sure, petra was not to be missed, but a desert full of thirsty, binocular-ed, and water-bottled tourists feeding off the sales-hungry locals (or was it the other way around) have turned the specta

Middle East, 1999, chapter 24, back from aqaba – and the nba

june 27, 1999 aqaba, jordan bright, sunlit, azure blue and aquamarine green waters. deep crimson, purple, and multi-colored, live coral reefs. the gulf of aqaba. right across from egypt's great sinai peninsular. the view from the opposite, jordanian side. another quick dip in the red sea, a few arab-dressed barbie dolls from the abundant tourist shops near the docks for my nieces back in oakland, a fresh humus and green salad lunch for my exit fortification, and poof - i'm back in eilat, waiting for the last bus to jerusalem. deja vu. customs, visas, military border patro

Middle East, 1999, chapter 25, tel aviv take two – synchronicity, violence, & facades

june 28 - july 4, 1999 tel aviv wow. i'm chillin' in my own apartment in neve tzedek, the formerly old world, yemenite, now trendy, tel aviv neighborhood between the bright lights of downtown and jaffa, just about three blocks from the glistening mediterranean beach. well, maybe not quite my own. you see, i lucked out. on the way to the russian compound from the moravs in jerusalem, i made a few calls from a phone booth in rehavia and i hooked up with roni myers from south africa. i had met her at the shantipi world music festival, and she had enthusiastically arranged a

Middle East, 1999, chapter 26, full circle

july 4, 1999 tel aviv - los angeles it's my last day in tel aviv. my last day in israel. my last day in the mideast. i'm going home. sad. i stick to my routine - do nothing new or out of the ordinary. i take my walk, buy leora and roni, my generous neve tzedek hosts, some fresh-cut flowers from the market, and oh yes, i buy a "USA today" - that's new. i see my maniacal candy stand vendor - from a distance - the one who threatened to bash my skull in with a club just a few days back. i make sure he doesn't spot me out of the crowd. to my surprise though, i'm not afraid. i

Corfu, Greece, 1998: looking for larry 1

henry miller & lawrence durrell, 1962 i'm a lucky man. i teach creativity and self expression at a major university in southern california. lucky, i say, because although the cloistered world of college academia may not be the most glamorous or best paying job in high powered and sexy lala land, it does afford me certain intangible feel-good perks such as autonomy, creativity, and perhaps best of all - time to travel. for approximately three and a half months in the fall, and another three and a half months in the spring, i try to get students to look for knowledge,

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