At orientation yesterday we got a lot of useful info on various matters. I’ll type my notes here to help myself memorize everything, and also as a possible point of interest for those thinking about visiting Jordan in the future. I’ll try to alternate what I consider to be fun facts (FF) and serious stuff! (SS) 🙂
FF- about 25% of cars in Amman are taxis! And it’s suuuper crucial that a lone man sits in the front of the taxi, but a lone woman in the back. Oh, well… Explanatory picture of the quantity of taxis in traffic taken from this girl’s blog
SS- downtown here is called “The Balad“. It’s good to visit but it’s recommended to carry small cash, dress down, and generally try not to look like a tourist. It’s important to negotiate and VERY important to avoid Fridays, as protests are often organised and can deteriorate rapidly, as in the case of a foreign student who was stabbed to death for taking a picture (during a protest in Egypt, but the case impacted all the Middle East)
FF- the director of our school has lived in Amman for the past nine years (he’s Canadian) and he still doesn’t know his exact address here! That’s because landmarks, not addresses, are used to get around. I wonder how the postal services work!! But my address, in fact, is a postbox hahaha
SS- never give charity near a place you’re often at, like your house, school, etc. It could get you way too many unwanted friends very quickly…
FF- the “people aquarium” phenomenon is what our school coordinator (or something, can’t remember his proper title) calls the effect produced by indoor lights creating a sort of television to outsiders, in the evening, so that everything you do in your house is perfectly visible. And of course he’s adamant we -girls especially- need to prevent this from happening by using shutters as soon as dusk falls!!! Hihi
SS- as a standard procedure, every flat is given 2 cubic meters of water per week, no more; so we should try not to shower everyday, and to save water as much as possible in every way. It is possible to get extra water but it means it has to be carried by a lorry (!) and it costs 40JD, which is roughly 55 euros I think! Interesting graph:
FF- police officers are generally very prone to joking here, funny and relaxed! The director told us a truly hilarious story about a misunderstanding between an English girl and a police officer, but I’m afraid it was way better told than it would be in writing 😉
SS- suggested and discouraged travel destinations in the area keep changing and it is better to check with one’s embassy etc before embarking on a trip. At the moment, it seems quite safe to go at least in certain areas of Turkey, the Emirates, Kuwait and Lebanon, while Syria and Iraq are obviously not recommended, and Yemen, Egypt and Israel could also be problematic- the latter, because of security checks when returning to Jordan. Here’s a map of the area just in case you don’t have it clear 🙂
FF- crime rates in Jordan are super low! 😀
SS- always carry not your passport, but a copy of the passport page with your visa on it, so that you avoid any possible problem with the Law…because you are, by all means, subject to Jordanian law while here and it can be quite a bit stricter than your own country’s!
FF- my school is the #1 host of British and American nationals under one roof in Jordan
SS- avoid controversial topics in public, don’t be too talkative when you’re alone, and forget about visiting refugee camps unless you’re part of something official (sigh)
Last but not least, it was kinda nice to learn that our director is trained as a Sex Assault First Responder and that we are strongly encouraged to go report to him in case we ever feel harassed, though this is not common here. I feel in good hands!!
Aaaand to end on a happy note, the school organises two trips for its student during term: one will be this very Saturday (hooray! can’t wait!!) to Ajloun castle, and the other one at some point in October or November, to famous Petra and Wadi Rum!!! Yaaaaay 😀 😀
That’s all folks 😉