10 May 2022

That unmistakable way of welcoming a guest

Any one of you half knowledgeable about this part of the world will know that tea and welcoming guests go hand in hand. You may remember the uncountable glasses of tea my dad and I used to drink sitting on the patio without saying anything to each other.

I remember my friend Ed who was on active duty in Afghanistan and how surprised he was that any place he would go to, invariably he would be offered tea and then once he was done, would be politely asked to leave to keep himself safe.

Just before the pandemic, you may remember my trip to Muscat. The driver who took me around – we still talk on his birthday (Mohammed Mubarak Khamis Humaid al-Jabri) had insisted on treating me to a glass of tea. “Karak Chai”, he had told me.

Today was no different. Mahmud – my new driver friend for life – insisted that he welcome me to Jordan by treating me to “Karak Chai”. He just would not let me pay for it.

For folks from India, you probably remember “Kadak Chai” in certain parts of northern India. It is essentially the same milk tea spiked with cardamom, clove, sugar etc. Tastes heavenly.

The young gentleman in the picture is Bilal. He is from Egypt. While making tea for us, he gave me a lesson on the short stretch of water in Aqaba that separates Egypt from Jordan.

Posted May 10, 2022 by Rajib Roy in category "Vacations

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