Daily Archives: October 16, 2009

Maybe I’m starting to become more Jordanian

The roads here are a little nutty and I often wonder if there are interesting cultural implications for some of the differences between the roads here and those at home. In the US we are solely focused on the rules of the road and if another car breaks those rules, we are completely blindsided. A lot of times, I don’t think we even notice the other cars, just the lines on the road and the stoplight in front of us. Here in Jordan, I think it’s the opposite. A lot of driving laws are broken very frequently, but drivers communicate a lot with each other through various methods (flashing lights, honking horns, yelling, gesturing…). The cars all notice each other more and the road less.

Both the American method of only seeing the rules and the Jordanian method of only seeing the other cars aren’t ideal of course, but I don’t think that either causes more accidents. It’s just a different way of interacting with each other, with the society around us.

The one thing that you can get in a lot of trouble for here is nailing a pedestrian. I was walking last night along a busy road in Amman and a car whipped around another car and stopped like two feet from my body. However, I didn’t even flinch. I just gave him a traditional Jordanian glare. I was either subconsciously very confident that he would stop or maybe I’m somehow used to almost being hit by cars on a regular basis that this incident wasn’t all that close. Or perhaps I’m becoming a little more Jordanian. Regardless, I’m a little worried that some of my American-style survival skills are being lost. Don’t be surprised if you see me when I return back to the States plastered to the windshield of a red ’94 Ford pickup.