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Amman, Jordan

An editorial cartoon that ran in a Beirut newspaper over the weekend showed an Arab ballot box chiding a Ukrainian ballot box with the words: "You should have come to me for advice!" If you want to know how to stage a meaningless, rigged poll Arab governments are the people to ask.

Amman, Jordan

Amman, Jordan

A friend from the state department called over the weekend to ask if I had a sense of how people here felt about the election returns. "I'd say everyone's disappointed, but nobody's very surprised," I replied. He did not ask about Condoleezza Rice's appointment as Secretary of State, but if he had I'd have said "ditto".

Amman, Jordan

If advertising pitches are anything to go by, winding up in a foreign hospital appears to be a recurrent nightmare among Americans traveling overseas. My own first encounter with non-American medical care only reinforced this. Visiting a fellow teenager at a London hospital in 1980 I arrived in something that resembled a 30's style cancer ward in a Hollywood movie. It seemed rather severe for a guy with a broken leg.

Amsterdam

Now this is something extraordinary, on several levels.

As I write this I am sitting in Amsterdam's Schiphol airport looking out on a rainy morning far removed from the clear skies and still-warm days in Amman. In addition to a dozen or so KLM planes my window seat offers a view of four Northwest Airlines jets and one apiece from Singapore, Hong Kong, Hungary and Turkey.

November 12, 2004

Amman, Jordan

November 11, 2004

Amman, Jordan

Like most Americans of my generation I got the general impression growing up that 'terrorist' was an adjective most commonly used to modify 'Palestinian'. Visiting Jordan for the first time, in 1985, I flattered myself that I was doing something dangerous and exotic (I was wrong). Like a lot of Americans of my acquaintance I only really began to learn better once I moved over here.

Amman, Jordan

A bit belatedly, perhaps, I have become a great fan of instant messaging. From the safety of Amman I find it is the best possible tool for keeping an eye on Iraq.

This afternoon my friend and former colleague Abdel Salam popped online with the sort of grim greeting to which I have become accustomed:

"Situation is too bad regarding security. Baghdad turns totally dangerous day by day. Yesterday at night there were attacks on two churches in Al-Durra."

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