Wednesday, June 22, 2011

At the Embassy and Safeway

Going to the US embassy was an experience, to say the least. First of all, there are Jordanian soliders all up nd down the street. This is a common sight anywhere in Amman to see soliders armed with big machine guns just walking around, but at the embassy there are a lot of them. Also, there are literally tanks just sitting there, with people in them holdings those big guns, ready to go. The line at the embassy to get visas and such is very long, and people are lined up outside before it even opens, sitting on the ground like the next iPod was coming out, except here this is every day.

After the embassy, we took taxis to the store. Taxis are an interesting business here, with the traffic and all. But to make sure you don't get cheated by a taxi, you have to first make sure is a meter, it is on, and it starts at .250 JD. If there isn't, you point and say "Aadaad?" And the driver should turn one on. If he doesn't,. you open the door and leave. Once you start driving, if the meter moves too quickly, you say "Hallas," and get out and leave. If he talks too much, you leave. Leaving is common, and I've done it. That's just how it works here.

As far as talking too much, that's because of the gender roles here. Women do not, under any circumstances sit in the front of the taxi. Also, women do not look in the rearview mirror, as direct eye contact with a guy here is considered to be flirting, and you don't want  taxi driver to get the wrong idea. Talking is also considered flirting. So, when we have two or three girls walking down the street, we've developed the "I'm not here" look, which is lowering your head to the point where you don't even think about talking to us if you're a guy. We still get honked and yelled at. but that's just because we don't wear hijab and look like foreigners.

Anyways, random thought, escalators in large stores here aren't esclators. They're moving walkways, like at O'Hare, but on a steep incline. Scariest. Thing. Ever.

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