Sunday, September 05, 2010

Desert song

This morning, in a protracted spell of half-waking, I experienced an extremely vivid dream of sunrise over a vast city in the middle of a desert plain. In the foreground was an enormous and ancient mosque, a rich reddish-brown colour in the pale pre-dawn light; the sheen of its polished stone so contrasted with the deep shadows around it that it looked as though it was hovering in the air just above the desert sands. The rest of the city, though, was all austere modernity: lots of chrome and marble; expansive parks and plazas dotted with skyscrapers and huge abstract sculptures. In the convenient way of dreams, I'd fast-forwarded a bit - from admiring the vista of the whole city from a mile or two away just as dawn was breaking to walking around the downtown area in mid-morning. The place was strangely devoid of people; and the few I did encounter all seemed to be Indians rather than the expected Arabs. Perhaps the local populace were all enjoying the air-conditioned coolness of underground walkways - it seemed to be that kind of place (although the outdoor temperature was not excessively hot, I found, and relieved by a light breeze). The plaza I was walking through, flanked on either side by a small lake, seemed to have a lot of museums (one, in a black marble tower, was labelled 'The Museum Of Electronic Weaponry', which I suppose hinted at a future setting - although everything else about the dream seemed quite contemporary).

Even more intense than the sensations of the dream environment was the conviction - inexplicable internal knowledge, not derived from any information in the dream - that this place was Amman in Jordan. I've never been to Amman, and know very little about it. In fact, I've never been anywhere in the Arab world, apart from a few tedious layovers in Dubai airport. Thus, it's something of a mystery as to why my subconscious should latch on to this as the necessary location for my dream.

My dream city didn't really look anything like present day Amman. It struck me as a 'model city' built with colossal amounts of oil money - impressive in its scale, but rather antiseptic and soulless.

Well, it didn't look anything like present day Amman, but it did look a little like this - a projection of the new downtown they're building in the Abdali district. Strange the way my brain works.


JES said...

Oooooh, I like this! (Both the dream per se, and your account of it.) In fact I myself had one of those almost-awake dreams of travel this morning and thought of blogging about it, but yours is so much more vivid!

You didn't say where you found that photo, but it would be interesting if you could find a Google Maps "street view" walkthrough of the neighborhood you dreamt of.

Froog said...

The photo is on the Wikipedia page for Amman.

Google Earth is still a bit dodgy for me, with my crawling connection speed.

I think this development is only just getting under way, so the area's likely to be a construction site for the next 5 or 10 years.

My dream city was a complete fantasy - uninhibited, unsullied by actually having people live in it.

I do rather like the look of Jordan. Starting to wonder if this might be one of those 'prods from Fate' dreams. I must check out the employment possibilities there.

el said...

Since I happen to have a picture of sunrise in Amman:

And here's one view of the skyline from my rooftop:

Froog said...

Thanks, El. Do you think I should move there?