Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ah, Jordan (Three Vignettes)


We direct the taxi through the directions we have been given and successfully arrive at our destination. As we enter the building our host is headed the opposite direction. "Out of water. I'll be right back" he says.

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We don't bat an eye lash.

Water is delivered once a week in Amman. The city controls the pipes and rotates which day the water flows to different neighborhoods throughout the city. When the water is on everyone in that neighborhood gets their water tanks filled up. That is your water for the next week.

There are many reasons you could appear to be out of water. You might actually be out, but it could also be an issue with the pump or the tank or… Our host was surprised to be out of water, being new to the country. We weren't in the least bit phased. Part of dinner was spent discussing all the reasons possible for the current situation.


My phone beeps to indicate an incoming text. "Did you hear we aren't changing the clocks tonight?" Huh, I think. Perhaps they (the government) have changed the day.

This was the night that was scheduled for Jordan to leave Daylight Savings Time to return to Standard Time. We had planned our day around it, having G skip her nap and intending to keep her up way past bedtime in an attempt to have her sleep in the following morning.

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Now it could all be for naught.

The change of plans is not surprising in Jordan. It was only seven years ago that the King set out the holiday dates for the following five years. Prior to this holidays would be announced suddenly, the day or two prior and everything would shut down - schools included. It was challenging to plan things, but you learn to roll with it.

The 'progress' of having a set calendar brought some stability. Even though dates were set for a few years into the future they weren't set in stone. On occasion, dates would still be shifted at the last minute.

We had become very used to this so the idea of a change was no surprise. We did laugh and shake our heads when we read this article stating that the date wasn't being changed, it was simply being cancelled.

(This is not the place for the discussion on Daylight vs. Standard Time, but it is interesting to note that of the locations that do not change from one to the other they keep Standard Time all year. Jordan, on the other hand, is now keeping Daylight Savings Time all year.)


As we headed out one night there were a couple of guys out in the street working. A huge pile of brown stuff was heaped nearby and a jack hammer was rattling the neighborhood.

I was curious to see how torn up the street would be when we got back and what they were going to do with the big pile of dirt.

Oh, was I wrong!

They were using the jack hammer to break up the asphalt in order to put stakes into the ground.


It was not a pile of dirt, but a Beduin tent. Yes, the tent was erected in the middle of the street, taking up nearly 2/3 of the road.


Seeing a Beduin tent sprout up is not at all unusual in Amman. They are used for funeral visits, weddings, and election campaigning. Usually the are put up in an empty field, popping up for a few hours and then disappearing. This one was used for a wedding. The men would gather in the tent and the women behind the house.


Having a tent in the middle of the street was completely new, but not he shock. Destroying chunks of the road (and knowing no one would fix it) was not the astounding part either. The only part of this vignette is that the tent was up and ready to go nearly 24 hours before it was needed. Now that, never happens!

Ah, Jordan.


  1. Thanks for sharing. What a strange thing to happen, a tent in the street. And a big one too!

    I've never heard of a country where holidays can appear out of the blue. But then, we often think things are just as in our own country except for the more obvious differences, don't we?

  2. Hmmmm . . . interesting to get a glimpse into the life/culture of another country. Makes me wonder what they would think is strange in the States.

  3. I love these glimpses into your life and the accompanying photos. The men with the jackhammer provides a great teaching point for predicting and inferring.

  4. How fascinating! Especially that the tent is right there in the middle of the street - perfectly ordinary to Jordanians, perhaps, but kind of bizarre to us!!

  5. I am so thankful that you are blogging from Amman! Remarkably different than life here in the States...it is so good to know this, to see this. Love the "instant wedding set up," with the tent in the road - wouldn't that be a nice approach here? Just claim your favorite location and make your wedding happen! Love it.