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Arriving Amman

Amman, Jordan is the waystation for journalists travelling to Iraq  (unless you are going in with the military through Kuwait). So few airlines fly to Baghdad, that Royal Jordanian can charge $1200 for an Amman-Baghdad round trip, a flight of about 90 minutes.

The Intercontinental Hotel is no longer the favored watering spot for journalists, but I have stayed here for years because I love watching the Jordanian families, and politicians, who congregate in its lobbies. And then there are the weddings.

In a Middle East that can  be all too gloomy, it is a treat to watch an exhuberant Arab wedding. I saw one on Friday night. The bride, resplendent in a sleeveless, lowbacked, sparkly white gown with train minced down the stairs with her groom, preceded by relatives with videocams, to the sound of Arab drums, clapping hands, and a bagpipe. Some of her bridesmaids had lowcut gowns, others - in the same color scheme - wore full-shouldered, long sleeved gowns with headscarves. A reminder that those who are more and less religiously observant can live together perfectly well in this region, if only the fanatics would leave them alone.