I am home in Sitka and will have the pleasure of looking out my window across Jamestown Bay and to the Gulf of Alaska or a little to the westward toward our volcano, Mt. Edgecumbe. We have had two consecutive glorious sunrises. The last two mornings the sunrise has reminded me exactly why I live here. But for the past two weeks the view from my window was dominated by Amman’s big, blue domed, King Abdullah Mosque. The mosque was an evolving sight, the run rising behind it and a little to the right in the morning, its stone reflecting the red glow of sunset or it lit up at prayer time at night, its blue dome looming over the hill and its minarets brightly lit during prayers. Then there was the soundscape. Five times a day powerful speakers, with amazingly good fidelity, called Amman to prayer. At 4:58 the call stirred me from my dreams. Somehow it felt comforting, bringing me back to my early days in Tirana. One morning I heard the call, noted it, fell asleep, had a full dream and woke to hear the call still echoing off Amman’s limestone walls.
I had a prime room. I arrived at about midnight. The hotel had crossed references with the company I work for and my reservation had been canceled. The desk called housekeeping and within a few minutes they found me a room. It was a large corner room with a fantastic view, the fantastic view. I think it may be the type reserved for prime loyalty customers. But I got it and the view of the big blue dome of the Abdullah Mosque.
Having seen it and heard it I needed to visit it. One day work ended early and I grabbed a cab, who misunderstood which Mosque I wanted to visit and we got stuck in traffic downtown. By the time I got to the mosque the mid-afternoon call to prayer was cascading from the minarets. I told the driver I would never get in, he said, “You are a man, you can go.” But as I approached the entrance I was tagged a tourist and the woman at the gate told me to come back in 45 minutes.
It was worth the wait. The Mosque is a huge room with a red carpet and blue, gold decorated dome. Inside one man was praying while his kids were running and laughing around the huge carpeted open area.
Near the mosque there are Coptic and Catholic Christian churches. The mosque frames them pleasingly.