Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Jordanian Time Sheet 

Jordanians just seem to do everything late. I've been here for four months now and still can't seem to assimilate to their schedule:

1) They Get Up Late. Most people stroll into work between 9:30 - 10:00 am. On weekends the streets are literally empty until well after 11 am. And if we happen to make it to the gym before work our usually buzzing facility is absolutely empty -- contrary to the states where morning workouts are considered peak hours.

2) They Eat Late. They don't eat breakfast and then they literally drink coffee and smoke until around 3-4pm when they eat lunch. No snacking! Dinner starts at 9:30pm at the earliest.

3) They Go Out Late. Everyone gets home from work at about 6-7pm. They rest until about 10pm when they head out. They don't come home any earlier than 1am and 4am is standard. They literally do this 4-5 times a week. The weekend is Friday and Saturday but for some reason the party nights are Monday and Thursday.

4) and of course, They Are Never On Time. I can't tell you how many times we have been 15-30 minutes late for events and been the first people there. It never fails.

Except for number one, I am totally at odds with this new structure of life. And my failure to adjust to these basic rules has really affected my ability to form functioning relationships here in Jordan.

For starters, I have to eat by at least 1pm. I tried eating breakfast so I wouldn't get so hungry but found I get even hungrier. So I eat lunch by 1pm period. Then by 4pm when the rest of the office is eating, I am the anti-social foreigner that's not eating with them. Or if I do eat with them, I end up eating two lunches for the day. Not Good either way.

When it comes to the social scene, I am even more of a loser. But I'm 24, I am out of college, and I just refuse go out until 4am anymore and be at work by 9am. Not gonna do it no matter how much I believe the "when in Rome.." theory. Even straight out of college when I was in DC, my main source of social interactions were happy hours where you could eat and drink starting at 7pm and be home by 10pm. Perfect.

Actually, I'm trying to get a happy hour scene started in Amman. So far I think I have converted no one and just made the waiters here mad with my attempts since it cuts their prep time/card playing/smoking break way to short.

Plus, I find that happy hours aren't as fun when you are the only people in the entire place. You might as well be sitting at home, on your porch, sipping beers and smoking cigars for less than half the price....

Which, not coincidentally, is what we mainly end up doing when we feel like having fun.... So much for taking advantage of unique social and cultural experiences....


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