As soon as I got off the airplane there was a man waiting with my name on a placard. He ushered me through the visa process and walked me out to where a mercedes was waiting that took me to the hotel. We picked up a few other passengers for the same conference. One was a Lebanese blogger and the other happened to be Omar Christidis founder of ArabNet and former roommate of a guy named Billy Parish, a guy who started the largest student environmental movement in the USA. Small world.
I really want to tell you about the incessant smoking of all the people in the airport, the cab ride to the hotel where I passed camels and bedouins and rubble and the old city and arriving at the hotel.
I hustled to the nearest masjid and arrived just in time for magrib. People STARE here. They are really not used to seeing black people at all. After prayer I walked to a local grocery store and bought a big thing of water and some almonds. In the grocery store there was a falafel stand and i got my dinner there.
Just got back from the formal dinner. It was very nice. lots of small courses and the Prince gave little speeches and went around to every table. I sat with a music professor from Tajikistan, a Finnish diplomat, a American Jordanian who works for the Prince, two of his British personal assistants, and a Palestinian-Canadian-Jordanian who works in media. lots of small talk. interesting conversation about waste to energy. a nigerian fellow said I looked like an African Head of State, he said I might be Yoruba because i look like a number of people in his family, he is an interesting guy who is in islamic banking and works in Lagos, young, our age. (my age).
Here we are. Me and HRH El Hassan Bin Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Apparently he read Green Deen and insisted that I attend a forum on Identity related to the West Asia and North Africa region.