One thing I didn’t miss about Jordan
I’ve just returned to the States from a week-long trip to Jordan – after less than two months back in San Diego following my fieldwork in Jordan this fall – to attend the 7th World Archaeological Congress. The conference was interesting, and the crowd was rather different from most of the meetings I’ve attended recently (more on all of this, hopefully, in the near future). It was a bit strange to be back in Jordan so soon, though, and for such a short amount of time.
Overall, I genuinely like Jordan a lot, and this trip was quite pleasant, even though I had to wake up and leave my hotel before dawn (and, more importantly, before they served breakfast) in order to get to the conference center on time. One thing I was reminded of, though – especially since I was waking up early every day – is how difficult it is to find a decent cup of coffee (by which, being an American, I mean “stock”) in Jordan. That isn’t to say that good coffee doesn’t exist there. I actually find Arabic/Turkish coffee, generally served mildly sweet with cardamom added, quite delicious. But I usually prefer American coffee, and when that’s served there, it’s almost always instant coffee, generally referred to by the generic trademark Nescafe (نسكافيه).
When we’re out digging, we tend to have genuine Nescafe, usually the ubiquitous Red Mug variety, which is, at least, recognizable as something approaching actual coffee, although I wouldn’t call it something I particularly like. This trip, though, every cup of American coffee I drank was off-brand instant coffee, which can be surprisingly bad. I still gladly drank it (any port in a storm and all that), but it did make me reflect on how good we have it out in the field sometimes. We might be living in tents and waking up at 4:30 in the morning, but at least our Nescafe is, comparatively, not that bad.