Fans swing back and forth on their columns.The pale woman with dyed black hair, alone in the lobby, staring off into space.The worn wooden desk, the framed portrait of the Hashemite King, the row of keys for rooms that have not been rented in years, the plastic ashtrays scarred by the cigarettes of decades of people left waiting here - just as we are waiting.
She turns, startled, 'Any news from Susan? - We went to school together in Chicago - you know her, I'm sure. . .. . .I'm sure you know her.'
Jameel picks me up in his taxi, on the edge of the third circle. In his wallet is a picture of his father's house in Al Khalil.
The tense heavy feeling of life clotted on hot asphalt - Saadi says - 'like harbor air clots in sea-shells'.
In Mahata, Jawad, sits in his room. The muhabarrat have raided the markets again, and it is not safe to work. . . the scars from his torture have faded now and no Western embassy will take him. Every day he waits for the knock on the door that will send him home to die.
Eight circles of Hell in Amman, you reach the ninth through the airport to Baghdad.