Dispatches

Victory

28 Mar 2009

Long Thursday night walk home, and the pressure was building up, the kind you're desperate to unload over the bridge, ... read more

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Stories

JordanJordan

HOW TO: Barter With a Middle Eastern Marketeer

“Pay me 20 dinar!” “But I only have 10!” “You cut me! I make no profit!” “You cut me! I don’t have any money!” And just when it looks ... read more

28 Jan 2009
 

JordanJordan

How Some Crayon Drawings Sent Me To Mosque

The woman gently pushed her daughter in my direction. With wisps of short, black hair and a soft, thin face, the little girl stared up at me, her brown eyes ... read more

04 Feb 2009
 

JordanJordan

I Might Have Become An Official Arab Diva

The door of the RGB Club pulsated with the blasts of house techno. As I pulled it open, I glanced down at my dusty knockoff Crocs and torn jeans and ... read more

07 Apr 2009
 

Insider Tips

Being an American

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Just be respectful, open and friendly

It’s a common misperception that Arabs are hostile towards Americans. Taxi drivers will often react to the news of my nationality with an ehlan wa sahlan (“welcome!” in Arabic ... read more

05 Feb 2009
Culture Shock

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Learn a bit about Islam

Like many Islamic countries, religion pervades every corner of Jordanian society—and it can be quite an adjustment if a foreigner is unfamiliar with Islam and Islamic customs. The best ... read more

05 Feb 2009
Being an American

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Feel welcome in Jordan

It’s a common misconception that Arabs are hostile toward Americans. Taxi drivers will often react to the news of my nationality with an ehlan wa sahlan (“welcome!” in Arabic ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Culture Shock

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Islamic understanding

Like many Islamic countries, religion pervades every corner of Jordanian society—and it can be quite an adjustment if a foreigner is unfamiliar with Islam and Islamic customs. The best ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Dating

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Date smart

Maneuvering through the abundance of young, beautiful, well-endowed women in Jordan as a poor, white, non-Muslim foreigner is a bit like walking through a Mercedes-Benz dealership without a dollar to ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Etiquette

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Kiss right

Don’t forget that Jordanian greetings, where two people touch cheeks and feign slight kisses (like the French), begin on the right side. My failure to remember this important detail ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Fashion

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Pack some class

Jordanians tend to dress more formal than the average Westerner, so it’s good to pack some nice attire if you don’t want to feel un-classy when you go ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Festivals & Events

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Surviving Ramadan

Ramadan, the holy Islamic fasting month, can make life agonizing for foreigners. If you have the luxury of being invited by a local family for iftar (the fast-breaking dinner), go ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Film

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Watch before you go

If you want to get a taste of Bedouin desert life, watch the classic "Lawrence of Arabia." It shows spectacular footage of Jordan’s desolate deserts, and will get you ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Food

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Don't bust a gut

I was unsure about the traditional Jordanian dish “mensef”—a steaming platter of rice and on-the-bone lamb covered with a rich, yellow yogurt sauce—until we feasted at a friend ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Health

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Going green

Though Amman is relatively clean compared to other smog-infested Middle Eastern capitals like Cairo or Damascus, littering is still part of the daily routine. In a developing country like Jordan ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Health

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Health yourself

If you have the privilege of checking into a Jordanian hospital with a stomach ailment, they’ll either want to take out your appendix or (if you’re female) just ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Music

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Can't stop the pop

For some unfathomable reason, Jordanians are in love with Bryan Adams, and a lot of the music played on the radio or blaring throughout the cafes is of the "Now ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Must Do

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Inspirational escape

Spend a night in a Bedouin desert camp, where you’ll discover the solitary world and the solitary men who roam it. There’s no background noise, no call to ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Nightlife

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Variety in Amman

Amman hosts a healthy assortment of bars and cafes, from seedy, male-only back alley joints to glitzy, expensive nightclubs. Jordanians (at least those who drink alcohol) possess a puzzling affinity ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Packing

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Cold desert winters

Most foreigners assume that Jordan, since it’s in the Middle East and mostly covered by desert, is warm and sunny year-round. But Amman can get quite cold beginning as ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Politics

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Politics and life are inseparable

I had a friend who dropped a coin in the middle of a café, and as it rolled around, he stomped on it so that he could pick it back ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Religion

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Religious overtones

“Muslim or Christian?” you’ll often be asked—an indication that religion plays a significant role in Jordanian culture. Indeed, Middle Eastern society is heavily informed by Islam; the call ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Slang

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God willing...

Most foreigners love the Arabic tradition of adding an “in’shaallah (“God willing”)” to the end of every sentence: “see you tomorrow, in’shaallah.” “It’ll rain tomorrow, in’shaallah ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Sports

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Soccer politics trump all

As an (American) football lover, I had little interest in soccer until I lived in the Middle East. But after spending countless nights in cafes puffing on a shisha and ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Getting Around

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You'll be nostalgic for New York cabbies

Jordanian cabbies are a far throw from the Egyptians who used to demand I reach out of the car window at 70 km/hr to borrow a lighter from a ... read more

10 Feb 2009
TV

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DVDs for a dinar

Downtown Amman is littered with DVD stores, where you can get knockoff discs of popular movies and television shows (both Western and local) for one dinar each (about $1.25 ... read more

10 Feb 2009
Festivals & Events

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Nothing says "I love you" like firing a gun

During celebrations, weddings, and holidays, just remember: guns are a poor man’s fireworks. read more

10 Feb 2009
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