Thursday, July 05, 2007

Smells Like Paper to me

Amman Jordan

The trip to Amman Jordan to film the family of one of the doctors suspected in the failed UK Bombing Attacks in London and Glasgow had been uneventful, that is easy because Amman is probably one of the most uneventful places on the entire planet. I often refer to Jordan as The Hashemite Kingdom of Boredom, and Amman is a city with absolutely nothing of any interest for the tourist.
The hotels in Amma, though are good and the Hyatt is one of my favorite hotels in the world. Apart from being bombed a year or so ago and the foyer bar area destroyed by a suicide bomber that walked in off the street, that night two other hotels were also targeted by Al Qaida in a co ordinated attack. They had been soft targets with no security, you simply walked in off the street past a doorman. Now there is extreme security to almost airport standard.
Then again there is an equation in the Zen and Working in News. The better the hotel the less time you get to enjoy the hotel. The worse the hotel, you can count on spending hours and days trapped surrounded by white walls, cockroaches, intermittant power and naturally your room will be next to the loudest mosque in town. Now Mosques are not exactly heavy metal factories operating 24 hours a day, but then again Mosques suddenly come to life at 4 in the morning with the call to prayer blaring directly into your room, and that scares the life out of you.
Luckily this is not the case at the Hyatt Amman a great 5 star hotel but not enough time to enjoy it. We arrived in Amman at two in the morning Tuesday and after a few hours sleep were out tracking down the family of Mohamed Asha, we turned up at the house only to be told they were not going to do any interviews, so I suggested we find a coffee shop drink a cup of badly made black mud and go back and ask again.
Our driver interpreted the lets go and find a local coffee shop as "lets drive accross the city and drink coffee" and rather than a cup of simple mud served in a couple of minutes we ended up, yes you guessed we turned the corner and pulled up at a Starbucks. Twenty minutes later the coffee arrives and an hour later we end up back at the Asha Household which is now under total seige from media around the world and the family is talking. We get an interview with the father, who in true fashion cannot believe that his son would in anyway be implicated in such an act and butter would not melt in his mouth.
The rest of the day was a blur rushing here there back and forth and finally getting to bed around 2 am given the time differences between the Mid East and the East Coast.
When I am on the road I am always thinking about what I am going to write about and the trip to Amman gave me plenty of material, from the security man at Starbucks to the Mecca Mall of shopping boredom. But the title and highlight moment of the trip actually came when we were on the plane coming back last night.
Correspondent Reena Ninan, Producer Ibrahim Hazboun and I were buckled in ready for the flight between Amman and Tel Aviv, the only flight were you spend more time taxing than in the air, flight time 18 minutes distance 86 miles think of those frequent flier points everyone.
Anyway you know how in magazines they have those scratch and sniff folds, lift the tag and smell the new perfume male or female and the smell seems to last no matter how many times you lift the fold. Hey the one at my dentist still holds the smell after a year of use.
So here is this foldout in the magazine Reena took from the hotel, I peel it back and well there is a small amount of smell, not enough to overpower my senses, I pass it across to Ibrahim who reluctantly lifts it to his nose and with a casual shrug of his shoulders says he really cannot smell anything. Reena smells the fold and simply says "Smells Like Paper to me"
What was the mystery scent, well I have to say advertising has a lot to answer for, the product was a new line of female hygeine pads "Always Fresh".
Give me a break perfume yes hygeine no, but after a long couple of days it was a very light moment on the road.


Anonymous said...

you crack me up!! e.

Anonymous said...

You know Mal....some days are just like that funny man. It could have been worse I guess.

turdpolisher said...

That's exactly what youneed after a day like that.

Funny stuff.

chy said...

Great writing, as always,