I have found that Jordan is a wonderful place to live as a foreigner. The general public is just so helpful whenever I need to do a routine task for which I would know exactly where to go in the US but have absolutely no idea here. Case in point: last night I had yet another car issue. Since we got the car in February, I have seriously maimed the body of the car not once but twice, I learned the Arabic words for flat tire the hard way, and then last night, I ran over a piece of hard black plastic that was sitting on the black road back to school late in the black night which conveniently detached part of the bumper. Strange that I didn’t see it. I share the car with two other people and neither has had a single issue unless you count refilling the wiper fluid, which tells me there’s some sort of bad mojo between me and the Corolla.
So today, I went into Madaba to try to get the bumper fixed. I went to the gas station where I got a 3 JD ($4.20), hour long, inside and outside hand car wash because I had no other ideas of where to go (and I like those guys!). I pulled up and asked in Arabic if they could fix my (blank… didn’t know the word for bumper). The guy said yes, yes, we fix that and called over two guys that were sitting on the curb. I thought that perhaps these were the body work specialists, but when they came up to the car, they opened the door and hopped in. I thought in my head, ADVENTURE! Let’s go! So I hopped in too, and asked what was going on. We can fix your bumper but not here (which technically means you can’t fix my bumper, but I also don’t know how to say technically in Arabic, so I let that point slide).
We pulled out of the gas station and they directed me for 5-7 minutes or so driving around the little town. We didn’t really talk, or play any car games, just drove. We got to a sketchy little garage with very busted cars strewn around a parking lot, and they called the guy over. He unscrewed part of the bumper, kicked it three times to get it back in the right place, screwed it back in, and charged my 3 JD (1 JD per kick, probably). Then, my friends and I hopped back in, I dropped them back off at the gas station, and before I bid them farewell, one made me put his number in my phone. Thanks Zaid!
The great part was that I felt not an ounce of distrust in the situation. Stuff like this has happened so many times. How weird would I have felt in some other country when two strange dudes got into my car with little to no explanation and told me to drive somewhere? And when we got to the body shop, after we got out of the car, the guy wanted me to pull my car around, so one of my two new car buddies grabbed my keys from me, hopped in and did it for me. How easily he could have driven away with our leased car that I share with two other people.
What an awesome feeling to have my helplessness counteracted with Jordanian helpfulness. So if you’re having car troubles, just let me know – I have the number of a great guy to help you out.