Monday, April 30, 2012

Sand and Other Adventures, Part 2

Another email from Lexi in Jordan, this one typed on a borrowed laptop, rather than a phone:

In addition to staggering around on donkeys and camels and getting supremely sunburned, I've been enjoying AMAZING food and extreme hospitality. Everyone here is very friendly (though not always the best kind of friendly), and eager to invite strangers in for tea/coffee. They don't hesitate to talk to people (though there is obviously sort of an odd dynamic between men and women, because men have to initiate conversation). On the flip side of that, I try to avoid eye contact with men in the streets and often have to choose between being extremely rude (ignoring or glaring) and smiling back at what I gauge to be well-meaning friendliness. Aside from that, I feel very comfortable here. It feels like a place I could, maybe, actually live and work someday (Mom, don't glare at me).

We've gone to see some pretty amazing ruins. Everything just looks ancient. The hills here look like crumbly mountains, layers of sandstone and rock strangely inlaid with the occasional patch of grass. They have "camel crossing" signs instead of deer crossings.
I've had some fun encounters with strangers, including the Bedouin camel owners who told me that they've seen pictures of their camels on Facebook (apparently they have a generator in those caves), and a middle-aged man selling scarves who showed me how to tie a hijab by demonstrating on himself (he was very amused as he wrapped the scarf around his head and indicated where to pin it; "Very good, right?"), and the time I wanted to buy some traditional Jordanian spices. (Forgetting just how little spices weigh, I bought half a kilo (!) and ended up with a truly enormous bag. No wonder the guy behind the counter gave me the look of, "You clearly have no idea what you're asking for." Yay for being an ignorant foreigner...)

I think that when I return home I will be very amused by the driving in Boston. While truly awful in comparison with the rest of the states, those of you from outside the U.S. know that it's nothing compared to the rest of the world. People swerve all over the lanes, go backwards down the breakdown lanes (and sometimes the streets), and they often forget to put up signs to indicate speed bumps in the road (go from 100 km/h to 30 in about three seconds and see how you feel).

I still haven't picked up much more Arabic than "thank you," but that's all right.

That's all for now.
And that's all for now from me, too. 



At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Rich said...

James has some tales to tell about driving in Jordan. The cabs don't have left-side doors in the backseat, because you wouldn't want to get out on the traffic side of the cab.

At 12:04 AM, Blogger Jeffrey A. Carver said...

For a minute, I thought you meant the left side was just wide open. (Which is sort of how I picture a cab in the desert, anyway.) But I guess you meant, closed-in, no door to open.



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