In Amman, staring at the stairs

When I first moved to Jordan in 2007, the long stairs were one of the most daunting things about downtown Amman. They connect streets and neighbourhoods on different levels since the older parts of the city are built on hills. I still remember how difficult it was to climb up the stairs on that first day in May '07 - not helped by the fact that my lungs were in terrible shape and I was toting a ridiculously heavy laptop. (Which would give me a shoulder ache for the rest of the year.) 

I'm back in Amman after eight years away; eight years in which I've done all of the things - writing a book, becoming a reporter - that I used to think about while walking down the city's streets and the stairs. 

The stairs are crumbling in places, I've noticed. I used to walk down them confidently in strappy heels and a suit, that heavy laptop on my back, amazed by what I thought was a grown up skill.

Now I bind my feet in sneakers to be sensible.

Elsewhere, the stairs lend themselves perfectly to Instagram photos. 

The city has changed in so many ways, and yet, as I made my way from Jabal al Webdeih to my old neighbourhood of 2nd Circle via downtown and back to Hashem (which has haunted my dreams since 2008) I instinctively knew which stairs and turns to take, which lanes were dead ends and which ones opened up into the ridiculously unreal views of Amman. It's weird what our minds retain.