JAMESTOWN, CA - It happened so quickly, apparently no one thought to take a picture. Jordan's King Abdullah arrived on a Harley for lunch at the National Hotel Saturday along with an entourage of about 65 staff and security people.
Assistant manager Leslie Chitwood said an advance team scouted the hotel last week, saying only that a delegation of foreign dignitaries would be stopping for lunch. Chitwood said only after the group arrived did they learn the visitors included Jordan's head of state and his son, Crown Prince Hussein bin Al Abdullah.
Chitwood said the king and his son were among a group of 11 people who dined on the patio, and most had ridden motorcycles. Members of the U.S Secret Service and Jordanian security agents ate in the hotel's dining room or out in front on the sidewalk.
Waitress Magali Silman served the group on the patio and said all wore Harley T-shirts and jackets. The king, she said, was very pleasant and ordered veal piccata from the dinner menu. His teenaged son had a cheeseburger with grilled onions. Silman said everyone drank diet Coke or sparkling water.
She said the tab for the group on the patio ran about $200 and was paid with an American Express card. The other meals were arranged in advance, she said.
Jamestown merchant Karen Luckhardt, who owns the gift shop across the street from the hotel, said she initially thought it was just an average group of bikers visiting the historic Gold Rush town until she saw the unmarked SUVs carrying men with earpieces.
Luckhardt said she had followed the Jordanian royal family for years and was excited to learn King Abdullah had chosen to stop in Jamestown.
The 140-year-old National Hotel has hosted movie stars and other celebrities, but Chitwood said she thought Saturday's visit was the first by royalty.
The king's security detail would not say where they had been or where they were going.
by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net