Finding an open establishment on Christmas in the U.S. is a bit like trying to get a cup of coffee during Ramadan at a cafe in Jordan. So Murli, Divy, Sanabel and I took off for Little India today. Everything was open and it was great to have sambar and dosai since I haven’t had a drop of Indian food for the past six months. Probably this is the thing I’ve missed most since I’ve been gone. I don’t know why, there are a few Indian restaurants in Amman (though I assume they only have Punjabi food), but suffice it to say we packed in some good eating today: bhel puri, samosas, dosai and mango lassi. For Sanabel it was great fun because it was a way for her to see a community that maintains its culture and language and does not feel the need to assimilate into American culture. She was able to see people dressed in traditional Indian clothes, listening to bhangra pop music, eating kulfi on the street, and speaking Gujarati among other languages. She noticed all of these details and she remarked how much she likes the culture–not just Indian cultures but also the fact that it is maintained in the U.S.
We also went to see a Hindi movie, “Bluffmaster,” which was a clever comedy that was sort of a caper heist/romantic comedy. I was worried that Sanabel was not going to be able to read the subtitles very well because sometimes they are even too fast for me, so I sat her next to Murli so he could translate any ideas or words for her that she might miss. But actually, she understood everything very well and it was Divy who needed a bit of help reading and translating some of the ideas. The movie theater, Naz 8, which calls itself the “multicultural cinema,” though I think they only show Indian (and some American) films. They serve samosa and chai so one doesn’t have to eat popcorn and coke making the experience far more enjoyable than an ordinary cinema experience. This was the second film we took Sanabel too, the first being “Paradise Now,” which she found deeply troubling and problematic for many reasons not the least of which was its unrealistic portrayal of Palestinian life as she knows it.
After the film we went to one of our favorite restaurants Udupi Palace for dosai. Sanabel got her fill of batata (potato) today, one of her favorite foods, but usually she prefers the fried variety. Today we gave her plenty of batata, but of the Indian variety. Her dosai, which we shared because we ordered a 70 mm paper dosai, you can see in the photograph above.
On the way home we listened to some new Hindi cinema music which we were sampling for Fida (including a film with her name as the title!).
Pictures posted of our last couple of days on the companion photo site.