Monday, June 12, 2006

No Corner on the Chronic Inefficiencies Market...

Today I had my first experience visiting the American embassy here in Jordan. Joy of joys. Okay, first I got better treatment at the gate because I am so very obviously American. I wasn't sure what the line was, so I went up to ask and was sent on through... That was nice. However, once inside, I found that I was No. 46 and they were on 13. Yikes! El 3atal and I were there together to notarize a document that finally finishes all the formalities with his previous employer. At 1:15, I sent him off to pick up the kids at school, since I needed to be there and he didn't. For those of you who don't know, notarizing a document takes approximately 1 minute. In the US, it typically costs $10-15 (if you don't have a relationship with someone who does it, which we always have) and takes the 1 minute. I paid 21JD ($30) after waiting for over an hour. However, to give them credit, I didn't wait as long as I was afraid I would have to. And, to further give credit where it's due, the lady who helped me (maybe the Vice Consul) was fabulously friendly, apologetic about the wait, and responsive to my needs. She also made suggestions for future visits (don't come on Monday, it's their busiest) and indicated that one of the issues is that they are short a couple of staff members presently. So, I hope the next visit will be quicker and smoother. After all, we may well need to get ButterBean's passport renewed form here next year.

Speaking of the embassy, I find the whole premise interesting. In my overly romanticized American mind, I have always envisioned embassies worldwide as bastions of American community. I expected that it would a place that you could go as an American and get assistance, meet and greet other Americans, and find out about happenings in the American community in any given country. Maybe that's the case some places, but it definitely isn't here. In fact, parking was an issue, entry was an issue, and there were no lounge or meeting places in sight. In short, my first experience with the embassy was certainly less than I had envisioned for so long. Maybe one day I'll find the American community here, but I'm not quite sure how... Maybe I'll call the American Community School. I'm not sending my kids there, but maybe it's still the holding place of my community. I'll keep looking and enjoying Jordan for all it is!



At 10:01 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Momma Bean!

You can join the 'club' at the US Embassy, but the security clearance takes quite some time. Many non-dip families join to use the pool, playground, dvd rental and cheap American food at the restaurant there.

There is also the American Women of Amman, which the JoLadies bloggers are charter members of. I don't know if there are many of your generation, though.

And when I get back, I'd be happy to introduce you to some of my friends!

BTW< so glad your container arrived!

At 10:56 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Kinzi, thanks. Any idea who we contact regarding the embassy club and how? I haven't been able to find any information on their website... Not very well organized to promote community...

We're awaiting your return on many fronts. Oh, and thanks for the recommendation on hairdressers. If I can find the camera, I'll post a shot of my new 'do.


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