Any decent correspondent on the road tries to get as close as possible to the local experience. When I'm reporting from the Middle East, for instance, I find that the best barometers of public opinion are tea houses and street-corner restaurants, where complex political discussions rage at every table. An added bonus: they let me get as close as possible to the local cuisine.
My all-time-favorite canteen is Ajyad, a no-frills joint in Amman's Jabal Hussein district patronized by working-class Palestinians. With its wrought-iron furniture, plastic flowers and chipped crockery, Ajyad won't win any awards for decor,...
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