A Christmas Souk in Amman

I was all set to post today about my trip to Madaba and Nt. Nebo to look at the wonderful mosaics and take in the view of the Holy Land from the mount where Moses stood.  But after I got back to Amman and had a good swim I decided to go to the Christmas Market at “The Boulevard” an outdoor walking street in the Abdeli Project that’s trying to become the center of Amman’s entertainment life.  The Christmas market certainly was the center of my entertainment tonight.

There are booths, some of them set up by charities, like the King Hussain Cancer Fund selling candles, Christmas Cards and other goods.  The Jordan River Foundation has a booth selling cookies and other baked goods.  That foundation’s patron is the Queen.  Earlier today, in Madaba, I was in a Jordan River Foundation retail shop selling handicrafts made by women who are being helped by the foundation.

The fine drizzle and cool evening did not kill the joyful mood.  As I walked through the metal detector (there’s tight security, taxis and cars approaching the area are searched, there are metal detectors entering the Boulevard, and one at the entrance to the outdoor café where I had coffee) I heard Nat Cole singing my favorite, Mel Torme’s “Christmas Song.”  Then came Louis Armstrong singing “Zat You Santa Claus?”  After that the live carolers took over singing Arabic and then English version of “Jingle Bells,” “Santa Baby,” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”  There were no religious songs.  By the time I got to the end of the Boulevard I was ready for a gluhwein and there was a booth ready to accommodate me, although it was selling more hot chocolate.  When I strolled back to the other end of the Boulevard it was time for a Vienna Coffee with a Christmas cookie.  I sat in a café under an awning just out of the drizzle.

I particularly enjoyed the families with kids getting pictures taken with Santa, the stilted elves towering over everyone, and all the selfies.  One of my favorite costumes was a woman in a Christmas red abaya and a Christmassy hijab that included green holly wreaths and red poinsettias.

In just over a week it will be Christmas Eve.  I am always looking for something new to talk about on the Battery Exchange on Raven Radio.  I will have plenty of new images to share this year from my pre-Christmas in Amman.

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