Friday, March 04, 2005

Jet Lag 

My first post from Jordan. I've been here 4 days and am still exhausted from jet lag. To complicate my already skewed sleeping pattern, each day I've been woken up by prayer from a nearbye mosque that blasts throughout the city starting at 4:30am. They have an excellent sound system. The prayer takes place every few hours five times a day (and is coincidentally happening as I write). I'm not sure what the melodic voice is saying but sometimes it sounds creepy and other times comes across very soothing. I can't tell whether it's my mood that makes it one way or the other or an honest variation in the tone. Either way, I kind of like it.

Amman unfortunately is not much of a walking city but it is a more modern city than I imagined. Last night we went out to a local bar "Whispers" that was much hipper than most bars in DC. They had this big tank of foot-long sharks right in the middle of it. (I wish I knew how to post pictures. I followed the instructions bloggerbot posted and have the software to post but I can't find the actual html. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know.)

The Jordanians we met at the bar were almost all western educated. Everyone in the place was dressed in western garb. The only difference I noticed in terms of fashion was that the men wore tighter pants (European style) and the women wore less makeup and had less cleavage than typical American bar-goers (stylish yet modest).

Over appetizers and drinks I asked for advice from the Jordanian women in terms of different etiquette, culture, safety etc. I asked if it was out if it was safe for women to walk alone during the day, at night, etc. They talked about the different neighborhoods in the city and how most are safe but I should stay out of a few. They even compared it to where I came from, Washington, DC, asking if I felt comfortable walking everywhere by myself there. They seem to take pride in the safety of tourists here. Tourism is very important to the Jordanian economy (despite its less than ideal location and instability of the regions surrounding them).

Honestly though, I don't plan on walking alone just yet. As independent as I am I think I should just observe for the first couple months, learn at least some conversational arabic before venturing out by myself. All I know for sure is I feel like I sure have a lot to learn. This is a new society with different rules and different attitudes. My blog is going to stay focused on the cultural and social aspects of my experience. I think it's better to stay away from talking politics... listening to the people here ...of course, but I'm going to pass on writing about it. I did enough of that in the states to last me a lifetime. And in this land of so much rich history and culture, I'm sure I'll still have more than enough content.


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