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Hash: Jordan

I know nothing about the world except through observation and the association thereof with vague pieces of data. That disclaimer should likely go on all of my posts, but considering how little I truly know about Jordan outside of one sample of Jordanian hash, it definitely belongs on this one. 

Jordan seems a blend of Arab and Levantine cultures. Missing the refinement of its Northern neighbors, and the brutality of those South. It’s a pleasant, easy place to be without a strong character. Even the Bedouins seem mild in comparison to those I’ve met in, say, Egypt.

There are some places that open themselves up to me, and others that don’t. I can almost guarantee that if I know or stay with an expat in a country, I won’t get to see that country as it truly is.

More than anything, this keeps me from establishing expat status.

And so I flutter a bit on my decision on visiting Jordan to stay with a random internet friend of a good friend. He is USAmerican, but has been living in Jordan for the better part of a decade. Mostly I know him through his passionate writing on politics. He’s a sort of Woody Allen type if Woody Allen weren’t a horrible sex abuser, and just an innocent dude trying to do his best instead. Smart, sexist, neurotic, funny, and a good writer. 

Because I am cheap, I do stay with him in Amman, but then rent a car to explore Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba, the Red Sea, and The Dead Sea on my own. 

Wadi Rum in Jordan

I’m criticized by all the expats for this, as though it is absolutely necessary to hire locals. I don’t plan to drive that far offroad, and I rent a vehicle that can handle it. I have tons of desert experience. 21 consecutive years of Burning Man and plenty more of desert camping, raving, hiking. The only place I’ve ever been shamed by the desert in the last two decades were the sand seas of Namibia, but that, my friends, is a different story.

I don’t in the end make it to the Dead Sea, because of industrial destruction of the environment.

Water is being diverted from the Jordan River, which feeds the Dead Sea. A sinkhole takes out the road just hours before. 

I think a moment about how I could have been there, had I left on time. Perhaps if my whole trip had been just two hours earlier, I would have made it through and floated on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea. More likely, though, I would have been swallowed by the sinkhole. 

But I wasn’t, because on the morning I was supposed to be getting ready to leave, I was instead furiously smoking the last of my half of the Jordanian hash that I went in on with Woody. 

Amusingly, he gets it from the convenience store clerk located closest to his apartment. The guy texts him and he collects the money from me and leaves. I ask to accompany him, but alas, one white dude is enough – adding a white lady into a drug deal in an Islamic country isn’t going to work, succession of progressive queens though Jordan may have. The guy balks. 

So sadly I do not get to add Amman to my list of places that I have bought drugs. And I suppose happily I don’t have to think about any encounters with the law.

I sit waiting as he goes to get hash at the store. And water. And snacks.

An expat he may be, but at least he knew where to get hash. Was it great? No. But it was hash.

Woody produces a 1 liter plastic bottle with a wide neck that he’s stretched tin foil over and made strategic holes in with a safety pin. I’m impressed with his paraphernalia and for a moment mistake him for someone who knows what he’s doing. He places a chunk of hash on top and goes to light it and I grab the bottle out of his hand. 

“What the…” he says. I just shake my head as I pick up the piece of Jordanian hash. It’s dark brown, and too smooth, not as gritty as it would be if it weren’t cut with something I don’t want to think about, like goat shit. I scrape smaller pieces of it off into a little pile of shavings and hand it back to him. He takes a hit and immediately starts coughing. 

“Amateur.” I mumble, taking the makeshift hash bong out of his hands. He coughs more, then eventually settles down and a big smile creeps across his face. 

“Ohhhhhh.” he says. 

I am glad we’ve already split the hash with a sharp knife and I have control over my half. I take a piece three times the size of the one he used and create two small piles out of it, taking two giant lungfuls in succession. Woody stares at me with wide eyes. I tire of his judgment. It limits him.

Mostly we talk politics when high. He has been living outside the US for more than half a decade and wants updates. I’m not in the US frequently enough to really supply them so it ends up an endless pursuit.

Amazingly, in more than five years in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, my host has never thought to make any jokes about putting the hash in Hashemite.

A few days later I miss that shitty plastic hashbong when out in the middle of the desert alone at sunset. Rock formations and miles and miles of rust-colored sand. It’s beautiful. 

Wadi Rum

I also miss it when looking at the clear, blue waters of the Red Sea.

Tilting my head at the oddity of seeing local Jordanian men fully dressed and tourist women in bikinis both sitting on the same beach, enjoying it. Not quite sure it’s the Middle East.

But most of all, I miss that shitty little plastic makeshift hash bong in Petra. It’s not the rock formations. I couldn’t care less. It’s the Bedouins that traipse among them. Wiry, strong men wrapped in swaths of black fabric sitting on high ledges staring down at me lustily as I stare up at them with furrowed brow. How do I let them know?

I don’t want to hire these men, I want to fuck them. 

I want them to abscond with me to their tent in the desert and lay me down on hand-woven carpets and anoint me before he tastes me everywhere and then I want him to fuck me like I’m made of porcelain. Or, you know, a quickie behind a rock. Whatever. Gimme. Alas, it hasn’t happened yet.

Instead I rent a horse from them. Which they tell me is named tequila, yet of course, all the horses turn out to be named tequila. Once you find something that makes the tourists chuckle, why branch out?

The horse takes me some of the way down into the strange canyon walls that the city is carved from. I take the rest on foot, regretting my decision to take the horse for the downhill portion of the trip.

It is stunning, but like everywhere else pre-plague – full of tourists. I find it difficult to be around so many people all coming to do the same thing. Generally I like weird things and local experiences, not tourist sites. And so my visit to the Rose City is brief.

Petra Inside

Amman has its interests, and decent food. I eat a lot of foul. It has an art museum that is more like a gallery, yet surprisingly edgy for the Middle East.

A grand mosque that is not all that grand. 

And, you know, these guys (the Ain Ghazal statues) who I am convinced are following me around the world:

Ain Ghazal Jordan

It’s a hilly city and my favorite moment there is taking a hit off that crapola water bottle bong at night on the balcony after everyone was asleep, looking at the moon haloed by the haze, and hearing the call to prayer bobble and waft over the crags and hills. 

Sometimes, it’s the little things… like shitty makeshift plastic hash bongs and mediocre Jordanian hash. Some places take my breath away, and some places are just nice places to be.


Another post cannabis from the Middle East.


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2 replies on “Hash: Jordan”

Hi, Zoe—I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I am a poet and novelist who travels the world mostly by unicycle (Amoshimasha.com) and I am planning to revisit Jordan tomorrow, if they let me through the land crossing, fingers crossed. I really like your style and commitment to queen hash in the hashemite kindom. Much appreciated and I feel an affinity. Keep up these excellent posts.

Sincerely,
Ben Qenny
בן קיני

Hi Ben, thanks so much for your kind comment! I love that you are traveling the world by unicycle, that’s amazing. Did you make it over the land border??

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