you land at queen rania international airport, pop into a taxi* and you are immediately washed in a sea of browns: the buildings, the roman ruins, the desert, the haze. everyone you meet smiles, happy that you not only rsvp’d to the party, but that you also came: “welcome to jordan.”

* the taxis, by the way (as the airport receipt will show), can take you to the iraq border for 111 JOD – for a while, i think this was the only way to get into iraq.