I have been in Jordan for three days now, and I’ve done a lifetime’s worth of walking. 7 o’clock rolls around and we collapse into chairs at a restaurant and marvel at how much we’ve managed to do in such a short amount of time. I’ve started to post pictures but they by no means express just how beautiful and incredible the city is. This is a good example:
I took this picture when we visited Jordan’s national wildlife foundation. Amman is built on hills, STEEP hills, and the buildings look like they’re stacked on top of each other. At the risk of sounding overly poetic, they look like stairs leading to the sky. And as it begins to feel cold, you think that the houses could go on forever, stacking one on top of the other.
Also, coming to Jordan I was extremely nervous about attempting to speak Arabic with the locals. Especially since I haven’t practiced all summer. But our group leaders pushed us into taxis where we were immediately required to communicate, and while English is common, it’s definitely not that common. I’m terrible at giving directions in English, how am I supposed to give directions in Arabic??
But a note to everyone: Jordanians are some of the kindest and most helpful people. Maybe a tad over friendly (I like my personal space. Jordanians do not), but I really do feel safe here. People are more than willing to help me and my friends navigate the city.
BUT HOLY CRAP THE DRIVING IS THE MOST TERRIFYING THING I’VE EVER SEEN. ALSO WALKING.
There are no lines on the roads, no flow of traffic, no crosswalks or sidewalks. People literally just cross the street and cars are expected to halt for them, some streets are super narrow and crowded. And they drive SO fast.
And yet, it’s all oddly comforting. I mean, people pay attention when they drive. They use turn signals and their car horns. Pedestrians look both ways before they cross the street and then run instead of meander.
But the sidewalks? Forget it. There’s no consistency. They’re all broken or made of gravel or sloped. I want to look up and see the city, but I need to look down and make sure I don’t break an ankle.
Sorry this post was a little scattered. Blame the jet lag (which I don’t actually have), or the fact that I’m still so overwhelmed.