December 3, 2009

I left Corvallis around 7:00 am to get to Eugene.  The fog was unbelievable, so much so that when I got to the airport in Eugene and pulled up into the long term parking lot, I could see  no more than 15 yards in front of me.  Being that this was my first flight out of Eugene, I had no clue on what to expect and where the terminal was or if I needed a shuttle from the parking lot or if I could walk.  I was completely oblivious of where I was, since I couldn’t see any building.  Only the cars in front of me.  Needless to say, I ended up calling up Stella, and she gave me directions!

Luckily the fog cleared up by the time our flight to Seattle took off. (I did learn later that one of my colleagues from UC Davis, Jim Hill, couldn’t get out of San Francisco because of fog, and missed the flight to Amman, Jordan).    The flight out of Seattle was delayed by almost an hour owing to mechanical problems.  I figured it was going to be touch and go.  We landed at JFK just a half hour before my flight out to Amman, and luckily I was able to run to that gate, and out of breath, just barely made it – they were calling for me on the PA system as I was running. Last one on board.  My other cohorts, except for Hill, were already on board and were all glad to see me.  The flight to Amman, which lasted about 10 hours, was uneventful, and I had the whole row to myself, so I was able to sleep for several hours.

Amman airport is about a half hour from the Hyatt hotel.  Amman is a beautiful city, lot of really nice roads, fast traffic, high rises, and full of American eateries and businesses: KFC, MickeyDees, BK, Safeway, True Value, etc.  My wife and I were here last year, and felt very comfortable.

After a quick shower, Fred Cholick, an OSU grad and who worked with Kronstad, and I went to eat dinner with a former student of his from South Dakota, Omar, who is now dean of the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Jordan.  A wonderful conversationalist.  He took us to a traditional Jordanian restaurant, Reem Al Bawadi (means “deer of the prairie” in Arabic), in a huge, old, domed building.  The food consisted of multiple dishes of flavorful hummus, multiple salads, mashed egg plant, spicy olives, along with hot off the griddle bread (both a thick bread and paper thin bread being made as you enter the restaurant), and wonderful grilled lamb and chicken. As I sit here typing this entry, I can get the flavors and aromas of the meal.  The meal ended with hot, black tea with mint leaves. Just a nice evening to top off a long day.

We leave for Baghdad first thing in the morning.

Until tomorrow night.



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