Posted by: Kristin | February 18, 2009

Falafel at Midnight with the Saudi Minister

After a long day of VIP meetings, conferencing, closing ceremony dinner, etc. we returned to the Royal Hotel in Amman tired but just enough energy to spend a few minutes in the lobby for our nightcap favorite of “white coffee” (hot water and flower petals). Just before heading back to our rooms, we were asked by a visiting Saudi Minister if we would like to join him to see the “real” Jordan (outside of meeting rooms and our fancy hotel). Of course we would! So we hopped in a taxi to a 24-hour cafe called “Hashem” in the heart of Amman at midnight for our second dinner…though stuffed, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity! I’m sure we were quite a sight: Bob Walsh and I, still dressed in our Western business suits, and our Saudi host dressed in his ‘thobes’ – the traditional Arabic dress – a long white robe and headdress…as we arrived at the outdoor cafe with plastic chairs, full of young men mostly all smoking and wearing jeans & t-shirts in animated conversations. The waiter filled our table with the best hummus, falafel, veggies, beans and pita that I’ve ever had before – all eaten with our hands over a great conversation about the complexities of the Arab Muslim world and the everlasting value of people to people exchange…well worth the trip!


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