Praise God, we’re here in Amman, very safe and very sound. We even have the pictures to prove it (note, quality and annotation of pictures to improve now that we know what we’re up against technically.)
As I said in my last post, it all started at about 10:15 AM EST when Chuck Holton arrived at my house with the one-way rental van. We then headed back to his house, grabbed Mike and Trevor and headed up I-95 to JFK Airport in Long Island, NY; with a brief stop just north of Baltimore to grab Chuck’s cameraman, Brad.
Chuck is a former U.S. Army Helicopter pilot. I guess being an Army Ranger wasn’t dangerous and/or exciting enough. Needless to say, we made great time to NY. So much so, that we opted to go into mid-town Manhattan. It was there we sought to purchase additional camera gear (read, toys).
To me, NYC driving is a pain. To Chuck, a thrilling adventure. He was almost gleeful at the prospect of driving in a place where lane markers and speed signs are mere suggestions. If he ever fails as a writer, I’m sure he has a second career in the Big City as a taxi driver; but I digress.
Here we make time to go into NYC and we can’t find our store (even though someone on the phone insisted their store was at 46th and B’Way)! So I get out of the van and go on foot with a two-way radio to peform recon while Chuck attempts to circle the block. I actually make three quarters of the box, taking enough time to talk to two building supers about our missing merchant … whom appearently has gone virtually virtual. Makes us wonder who answered the phone “47th Street Digital.”
Fortunately our cameraman suggests B&H Photo-Video-Pro Audio. With a quick phone call back to his office in Maryland. There he gets the address and in under five minutes, we’ve made the impossible distance between 47th and Madison to 34th and 9th. Just as we get to the intersection, the light turns red, Chuck utters a quick prayer for a parking spot. Just as the light turns green, a car pulls out on 34th. Costs us $2.00 for one hour, but it’s worth it.
The mighty hunters succefully toting arms full of camera bags, tripods and wide-angle lenses, we proceed to get a “slice.” Soon I find myself instructing the young Trevor from Georgia that one needs to fold their slice in half if they don’t want the pizza to fall all over their plate or shirt.
Then a miracle happens … well, at least a feat I’d never seen in my 10 years of living in NYC. Chuck makes the distance between 34th and 9th to JFK Airport in under 40 minutes … at 5:00pm EST, and an accident partially blocking part of the L.I.E.. After a quick 7 veils-like dance, we put our shoes, belts, jackets, change, keys, etc. back on our person and proceeded to wait for the rest of the tour group (good thing too, who know’s what Chuck would have done with his Leatherman Took after they served us dinner w/stainless steel knives and forks).
It was intersting sitting in the terminal (‘C’) at JFK , especially at the Royal Jordanian gate. One doesn’t realize just how different the World is until you see entire families traveling to Amman, Sudan and other parts of the Mid-East.
Of course, it was much less interesting having a family of four very rivaling siblings crying for the attention of their parents all night … directly behind our seats. As Chuck will mention in a later post, we are traveling with some members of the Christian press you might know from publications such as BreakAway Magazine and Christine O’Donnell of the Catholic Exchange. It was Christine, Trevor and myself who were sernaded for about 9 of the 10 hour flight.
That said, I have nothing but good things to say about my Royal Jordanian experience. I’m a big guy, so economy class scares the “DVT” outta me. I found their seats offered adequate leg room, though I could have used an inch or two more left to right. Their staff was professional and polite, even though some of the members in steerage were less than cooperative. Of greater importance, their pilots handles some rather nasty turblence half-way through the trip. Praise God for getting us here in one piece.
There we were greeted by Kamal (prounced like animal, Camel), a bright and intelligent guide who will take us to see this “quiet little country in a noisy neighborhood.” More on that last punditry-related quote in a day or two.
As Chuck wrote in a prior post, we are dining sumptiously and blogging feverishly at the Crowne Plaza Hotel here in Amman. Tonight, after some rest, we begin in ernest our tour of the “Other Holy Land.”
Keep us in prayer. Post questions or comments, we’ll pass them along to the members of the team.by