Thursday, March 14, 1996 - "The Adventure Begins"

Obviously, we'd prepared for months before the big day - getting immunizations, looking into the terrorism, and so forth. When the time came to leave, we still didn't feel prepared enough, but we were still eager to get on the road.

We set off from Detroit Metro in the late afternoon, bound for Chicago. At O'Hare airport, we met and boarded our Royal Jordanian flight to Amman, Jordan. There was one brief stopover in Amsterdam, where for security reasons we weren't allowed off the plane, before we arrived after almost 17 hours in Jordan.

(Monica had been to Italy several times before, but this was definitely the longest trip we'd ever been on. Thanks to timezones and such, we had a Friday that only lasted about 12 hours.)

The Amman airport was strange - very dark, with armed guards and untalkative passersby. We felt quite intimidated, since it was the first time either of us had been somewhere where we couldn't at least get by in the local language. We found one TV with "Colombo", our destination, on it - but everything else, including the gate number, was in Arabic. Eventually, we discovered that we had to go through the duty-free store (which was as well-equipped as a small mall) to get to our gate.