So much to say from one day. Travel first: passage through Gatwick was the quickest and easiest I’ve ever had. Paying extra for speedy boarding was worth every penny as it meant I got a front row seat, with nobody in front of me and about 6′ legroom. Then the pilot announced that we were five minutes late and had missed our slot and would now have to wait a further 55 minutes to take off. Dammit!
Arrival in Jordan was fine, I cruised through customs but the delayed flight meant that the police who were meeting me had had to take the Spanish, who arrived when I should have, to the hotel. So I had to wait another hour or so. Dammit!
The drive from the airport to the hotel was one of the more entertaining journeys of my life. The roads have dotted lines running along the middle of them, which look like our lane markings. They can’t be lane markings, however, because lanes would suggest that people drive in a lane, maybe moving from one to another to overtake. That’s not how it works here. You seem to pick a part of the road and drive there. If that means straddling these lines, so be it. If there’s somebody in front of you then you can a. move in whichever direction you fancy to overtake; b. sound your horn; or c. both of the above. Also many of the cars don’t seem to have indicators. If you want to move across the road you might sound your horn or you might just move. It seems to come down to personal preference. I should like to add that my driver was actually very good and I felt pretty safe, despite the best efforts of those around us. Oh, and I think that here the numbers on the speed limit signs must be minimum rather than maximum…
We’re not in the same hotel as last time. Rather than Le Royal, we’re in the Regency. It’s a nice place, but devoid of a jacuzzi. Also today devoid of a functional swimming pool but apparently that’ll be open tomorrow. The other thing is that the wifi is pretty expensive, so I’m typing this in bed offline and will upload it tomorrow.
Today was horse selection. My horse is nice and slow. Possibly too slow but I think I should be able to pick the pace up bit and I’d rather be too slow than too fast. We had a demonstration of the Jordanian style. After all my practice with the curved sword, we’re actually using 1908 straight bladed sabres with the guards removed.
Dinner was very pleasant, and included a long chat with Kassai Lajos, who for any non-horseback archers out there is the man who reintroduced horseback archery into Europe and is regarded by many as the greatest horseback archer in the world. I hadn’t been sure what to expect, having read his book and a book about Atilla in which the author wrote of Kassai as a very hard, cold eyed man with no time for the outside world. To my surprise and delight, he’s actually a very pleasant guy, with a slightly impish sense of humour. Passionate about mounted archery, of course, but perfectly ready to say that his style is not for everyone, that his aims and my aims are not the same and that somewhere there should be a meeting of those ways. I look forward to seeing him shoot.
There are old friends as well as new friends, of course, from French to Malaysian. There’s been plenty of discussion, in the usual mixture of English, French, German, Hungarian, Korean, Japanese, Arabic etc, all translated by the nearest person who speaks the right combination. I’ve spoken in my broken French to a Japanese competitor via a Frenchman who speaks Japanese. Only at an event like this can that sort of thing happen.
Good day all round, now I just have to decide whether to get up early and catch the bus to watch Kassai train or stay in bed a bit longer and go for a swim, then take the late bus. In the meantime, I’m going to read a bit more of this book on general relativity and then go to sleep. Night all.