This photo was taken today from the office tower where I work (16th floor.) I was so disgusted by the pollution, I took a picture. This is the view from my desk.
Then I left the office at 6 pm and walked home. This is my route home. It’s pretty when the Christmas decorations are up. What I like best, though, is the absence of cars. It’s a pedestrian-only zone.
Tomorrow night we have our office Christmas party, somewhere on the Champs-Elysées, don’t know where yet, it’s a surprise. The following night I’m going to make my way to the two big department stores – Galeries Lafayette and Au Printemps – to take pictures of their Christmas windows.
And here, a completely random photo just sent to me this instant by my friend in Lille: me on a Jordanian horse in the 1990s (in Petra.) I was horrified by quite a few things when I was in Jordan.
Their treatment of animals, for one thing. This horse initially had barbed wire in its mouth. Blood was trickling down its face. They were using barbed wire for a bit. I was so incensed by this barbaric treatment, I commanded them to use proper bits (or at least, rope.) If not, I’d lodge a major complaint with the Jordan Tourist Board, in Jordan and abroad. My Arabic-speaking friend translated for me. (I had my own horse when I was a teenager, a gelding quarter-horse called Sundance.)
Another oddity was the absence of sidewalks and pedestrian crossings in Amman. You’d see entire families crossing 4-lane highways, risking their lives as cars honked and swerved to avoid hitting them. It was absurdly uncivilized.
Then we took a long bus ride (5 hours) from Amman down to Aqaba. At some point, in the middle of the desert, a Bedouin waved down the bus. The bus stopped, the driver got out, there was some discussion, and all the passengers were watching through the windows. It turns out that the Bedouin’s donkey had collapsed in the heat. The Bedouin climbed onto the bus, took a seat, and the driver drove away, leaving the donkey behind. When I understood what had happened, I stood up and said loudly, “But what about the animal? Are you just going to let it die?”
The entire busload of people (my friend included) erupted into laughter. They found me and my reaction to be hilarious. And indeed that’s what happened. The bus drove off, leaving the poor donkey to die a terrible death, abandoned in the desert.
They found me hilarious, I found them primitive beyond words.