Friday, June 24, 2011

Middle Eastern Hospitality!!

EDIT: The country I'm referring to here is Jordan.

YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!! I had the BEST day of my lifetime!!!! ‘Hamdulilllah! (No, no, I really, really think it was the best day ever! Not just “one of the best”!)
Okay, so here’s what happened.

Today, a group of my friends from CLS decided to go to this agricultural city here in the Middle East (RE: Since I don’t wanna name the country, I’m just gonna use “Middle East” instead of the name of this country, k?  You understand. Shukran jazeelan.) This city was the capital of the Ottoman Empire in this region of the Middle East, so it has historical significance as well. But blah blah blah on that. Lemme get to the story. Oh, but before that, lemme say that we had to leave really early, which means waking up extra early, even though today (Friday) was and is the only free day we’ve had and will have for another 2 weeks or so, because most stores, etc. are closed on Fridays here, since this is a Muslim country and weekend here is Friday and Saturday. So we decided to wake up early to leave early. But then more people requested to join us, and for that, we took a bit longer. And I, too, woke up 30 minutes later than I’d set my clock for, because I was too tired from the day before. What we did and where we went the day before is a whole ‘nother story to be told in another blog post—soon, inshaAllah, I promise! :D But for now, get this:

So, we took two “micro buses” (i.e., mini-buses that have a specific route to specific areas of the country at specific times) to get to this really awesome city with the most awesomest people in the most awesomest part of the world. As is *always* the case in this country, we walked these tiring hills and all, and then we came to this restaurant where we decided to eat. The people there were really nice. Then, we went shopping across the restaurant. I shopped for some hijabs (whaaat – they were GORGEOUS, damnit! And the price was much better than the deal I’d gotten with my yesterday’s hijab shopping :( But meh, mush mushkil, eh? (Yani no worries).) I bought a few hijabs, and my friends got some sunglasses there.  Apparently, while we were there, the two guys in the group went around the street to look for sunglasses elsewhere ‘cause I guess they didn’t know they could find them in the shop we were at, too. After we were done shopping for our desperate needs, we called them to ask where they were so we could move on to explore the rest of the city. But, Alhamdulillah, they were at this shop on the same street (like 3 shops down the one we were in, yeah?) with this really kind man who had seen them and invited them into his shop. They told us to come there, too. So we went and the man, whose name in my blog shall be Musa, welcomed us in as well! He served us Arabic coffee first and then shai (tea) (I’ll show you photos another time, k?), and we had to drink it and when we were done, we had to shake our cups to insist that we were done and couldn’t take anymore. Then he called his wife, and we talked with her on the phone for a while! We also even talked with his daughters, yo!!! And theeeeeennnn … his wife invited us into her house, insisting we have lunch with them!!! :O So we were like, no, no, no, we came to see this city but thank you so much for the invitiation, etc., etc. But nope. They wouldn’t take that. So the guy took us to his house in his van, which, by the way, he built himself!!! But, amongst each other, we decided to get them some dessert or something so that we don’t go empty-handed and all, you know. Only … the guy ended up buying the dessert himself ‘cause he absolutely refused to let us pay for anything! Oh how we fought and how we lost!
Sooooo … we ate lunch/dinner at their house, at like 5-ish pm. I’d been wondering for so long—that is, a bit over a week, haha—how a typical house in this country looks like, so it was wonnnderful to visit one at last. We had all kinds of delicious foods and drinks and desserts there, which I’ll name in another blog post, not now. They lived on the 2nd floor, and on the third floor lived the guy’s brother, who’s married to his wife’s sister. We met all of them, we talked to all of them, we saw photo albums, and we had an amazing time, Alhamdulillah! At one point, his wife mentioned that her sister owns a beauty salon and she does hair and make-up and all. So I was like, “Can she curl my hair?” She said, “of course.” One of my friends was like, “Can she straighten my hair?” The awesome lady was like, “of course.”  So later on, like near late evening-ish, they took us to her salon. But on the way, we also went to this church that we found too fascinating for me to tell you about now (it deserves its own blog, yo! Extremely important and interesting stuff I saw there, including something deeply related and connected to Islam and the Qur’an. It was shocking for me.) It turns out that area has mostly Christians, and they said the relationship between the Muslims and the Christians is really good, without any problems. Not only that, but there were also more Muslims than Christians visiting the Church, from what I noticed as we were walking up the stairs (RE: This country is all hills, and this area of the country is built on 7 mountains, as I mentioned in another blog post). Even the name of the Church is a Muslim name – something I’ll tell you all about in when my journey in this country ends, ka khairee, don’t you worry none.
Sooo at the salon!! I had my hair curled, and my friend had hers straightened, and this other friend decided to trim hers a bit. We had perhaps THE most amazing time of not just this trip but I think of all the trips we’ve ever had in our life. :D (Don’t worry – we paid them for this. We’d agreed we could no longer lose in this insistence stuff, y’know.) We took tons of photos, and two of my friends also tried on all these different kinds of wedding gowns and all, just ‘cause the lady was kind and sweet enough to show them all of the gowns she had and insist they try them on and all! It was so much fun!
And, you guyssss!! My hair looks beeeeeeeeeautiful now!! It really, really does, and I’m not saying this just because it’s my hair. I mean, I love my hair the way it is naturally, too, but I’d wanted it curled since “always,” like I told the lady in Arabic, lol. And my friend looks too beautiful with her straightened hair, too, mashaa-Allah!
So, then, we were like, “All right. We should go now.” They were like, “Okay.” But guess what! They wouldn’t let us take a taxi back! (Couldn’t use the micro-buses ‘cause they’re no longer available after a certain time, and we were done with our fun by approximately 10pm.) We were like no, no, no, this can’t be so! But they were like no, no, we refuse to let you take a taxi. You will go with us; we’re going to *name of the city.*” LOL. It was hilarious. But, really, they so wouldn’t let us return on our own! They took such great care of us, they treated us with so much love and respect, and they gave us so many gifts and everything else one human can give another. When we arrived to the center, we invited them in to meet other CLSers, and so they came in and met whoever was awake and there. Everyone was stunned. They knew something unfathomably beautiful had happened today when they saw my hair curled (it looks SO beautiful, I swear!!! I *might* consider showing you pics of it, hah) and my friend’s hair straightened (hers looks even more beautiful! And, no, I can’t show you her pics, hah). And then it was our turn to treat them with all we had and all. We gave them the little we could at that time of the night and in a research center/hostel.
So, there. That’s Middle Eastern hospitality for you :)  As a Pashtun whose ethnic group is know *for* their hospitality (what they call “Pashtun hospitality,” yeah?), I wasn’t surprised or shocked by any of it, but my American friends were beyond amazed. I was, too, to be honest, because this was just too good to be true. From what I’ve heard, though, this sort of hospitality is totally common in the Middle East. But daaaamn, today was a day to be treasured!
And don’t forget to remind me about the Church, k? It’s got a Muslim name! I mean, it’s named after a Qur’anic/Islamic figure, and it’s highly respected by Muslims at least as much as by the Christians who perform their religious duties there. It’s a beautiful fact to be aware of, guys.
All right, beloveds. I should go to sleep now.
Da Khwdey pa amaan! / Khuda hafiz!


  1. I'm glad you had a great time!! You only made me more curious. gosh=P

    Yes, I do want to see pictures!

    I have heard of Pashtunwaley (the code) and I have even heard of MidEast hospitality. It's sad that we don't hear much about this on TV and news, etc.

  2. p.s aur che kam zaye ke vay alta deyr aman amaaan dey, wink!

  3. Thanks for your comments, lovely people! Thank you very much :) God bless y'all!

    @ Rukhpar Mor: haha, we do hear about it on TV: Remember when they (etc.) said that the reason why Osama Bin Laden wasn't being turned in by the "Pashtuns" was that he has requested an asylum amongst them, and they, according to their "ancient tribal code called Pashtunwali," are not allowed to turn him in, regardless of the consequences of their letting him stay with them :S That's Pashtun hospitality right there, according to the freaking media.

  4. LOL, Aneela ;) Der aman dey, aao! ... Na, but this country is safe (as of yet, haha). Khwdey de khair laree, no :) We're not allowed to go to neighboring countries, or even to the border areas or to anywhere where there are protests being held, so we're in good hands so far.

    And, nope - not the Church of Holy Fatima! I'll tell you on Facebook, if you don't wanna wait 2 months ;)

  5. no it was a "twist" on its 'peaceful' name.
    I have a fairly good idea where you are.
    And a Pakistani nearly made it to the throne remember.

  6. Hmmmm Lebanon? I was thinking of Syria, but think that's too dangeorus atm...

  7. @ Aneela: Wait, which throne?!

    @ Becky: LOL @ Lebanon. Not there yet :p But will be soon, ka khairee ;) And you're right; Syria is too unsafe for us to be permitted there :S

  8. tey chey kum zaye ke vey aghey throne, sarwat pakistani va.

  9. Hmm... I didn't know that, but I'm not sure if I understand it correctly. (Sorry ~blushing~) Are you saying that this country's had (or almost had) a Pakistani queen/king? I'm in Jordan, by the way. :O

  10. Aneela!!! I was at a trip somewhere yesterday, and the tour guide said to me, "You're definitely Pakistani." And I said, "Yes, yes, I am." And he said, "Ahhh! We're now relatives! One of our princes, Prince Hassan, is married to a Pakistani woman." And I was like, "OMG, NOW I get it! That's what Aneela was saying to me, and dummy me couldn't get it." LOL.

    So, yeah - gotcha now ;)


Dare to opine :)

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...