Ungodly Hours

…sometime so early that it still feels late…

I soon learned that I could get a nice, strong cross-draft going in my room by opening up both sets of windows during the night.  The downside was, this made all those outside noises louder.  Traffic blairs at all hours.  But even that fades into background noise, unlike my first up-close experience with the Calls to Prayer.

The call comes suddenly and without warning, ripping violently through my tranquil slumber like a grim reaper to wake me up at what I could have sworn were ironically ungodly hours of the late night and early morning.  I have to admit, it startled the crap out of me.  It was LOUD — as in, brain-rattling loud.  It feels like the guy was standing inside my room, calling directly into my head at the top of his lungs through a megaphone.  For several minutes.   Each call every late night and early morning became a game of tug-o-war:  winning meant me staying completely asleep through the ordeal.  Over the days I started to get used to it, and I think I successfully started incorporating the Call into the twilight of my dreams.

Maybe my hotel room was so cheap in part because it is so damn close to a major mosque.  On the upside, because it is a major mosque in the largest city in Jordan, the actual Call itself sounds technically OK.  I.e., professional, polished, delivered through a decent (albeit brain-rattling) sound system.  In contrast, the smaller mosques are quieter, but tend to have crappier sound systems and amateur callers that falter over phrases and notes.  When it’s done right and when you’re awake and ready to listen, it can be a beautiful experience.

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