Friday, July 11, 2008

Cheerleader diplomacy

I finally accomplished my last goal in Jordan, with a little less than a month to spare.  For 2 months last year I went without root beer.  Last night, it was rumored that Mecca Mall, (there’s an oxymoron for you) which is a mall more american than the Embassy, had a 50s diner that served root beer.  Sean Zainab and I hoped in the cab, avoiding being converted to Islam, though Zainab received explicit instructions by our cab driver to do just that, and finally found root beer.  Straight up, A&W, out of the can root beer.  Al Hhmdilallah-Thanks be to God. 

The next day we went to Ajloun for a relaxing weekend in nature, under the stars in little bungalows.  This was pretty cool.  The idea was to get the students, who had just survived a week of host families to completely relax and chill.  

When we got back one of the most entertaining, yet awkward things got to take place.  In our hotel arrived Iran’s national young adult handball team.  (Handball is a cross between basketball and ultimate.)  We decided upon arriving back in our hotel, to watch them play Bahrain.  Thats right our sworn enemies, the state which supposedly harbors terrorist, was playing one of our best friends in the region.  Due to the Iranians staying in the same hotel as us, we were cheering for them.  I spoke with them the day we left for Ajloun and they were very nice, but seemed to speak almost soviet style english.  The handball finals for asia are taking place in Jordan at what resembles a small small old school gym in Jordan's sports complex.  needless to say, we were the only fans there.  when you get 20 screaming high school american students into an empty gym cheering on their sworn enemies...the Bahrainis did not stand a chance!  Iran loved that we were there supporting them, and ended up winning by 5 points.  At the end when we passed by the locker rooms there were high fives all around from the Iranians to the students, and then the Bahrainis even thanked us for watching.  The Jordanian security forces who probably assumed they would have an easy day were holding people back to let the americans get through.  It was all a very weird day, but I am very glad we went, and that Iran won.  Chalk up another way to do diplomacy, cheering for peace.  

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