Just Suck the Life Out Of Me

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Traffic is my kryptonite. That said, driving through the Amman madhouse can be detrimental to my health.

Due to the 4th Circle Crater and the fact that the stinkin' king of Spain is visiting for a few days, traffic has been much more intense along certain routes. My kid's school is a mere 2.95 km (less than 2 miles) from my house, as the crow flies. The driving distance is a bit longer, but is still just under 5 km (less than 3 miles). On a perfect day (read Fridays), it takes just 5 minutes to drive from my house to their school. Even on congested days (read every other day), it usually takes less than 15 minutes to traverse the distance.

Today, however, thanks to the above mentioned problems, it took me 2 hours to pick up my kids from school! I only made one quick stop for gas. The rest of the time was spent sitting in stop-and-go traffic. I have one thing to say to Amman's city planner: "Start making plans for a subway, ya retard!"

Only in Israel

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I just returned from several days in Jerusalem. As in every culture, there are certain oddities that are just hard to overcome.
  • Only in Israel do the men wear their pants too short, their hats too small, and their sideburns too long.
  • Only in Israel can you be standing in a bus station and at 10:00 on the nose, everyone freezes for a minute of silence. It was like being in an X-men movie where Professor X stops time with his brain power.
  • Only in Israel can you see a bunch of 12-year-old girls serving in the military (although there is something sexy about a woman in uniform carrying a high-powered M4 rifle...grrrrrr. Jewish girls aren't as good looking as Arab girls, though.).
All in all, I had a darn good time visiting Jerusalem, despite the oddities. It's good to be back, though.

Things That Bother Me: Arab Female Pop Singers

Monday, April 24, 2006

Why is it that so many Arabic female pop singers look like a bunch of skanky clones with too much eye make-up? While I'll admit that most American or British female pop singers are pretty skanky in their own right, when it comes to Arabic female pop singers, they all look like they've been cut from the same mold: overly white with way too much black eye make-up.

Not only do they all look the same, but to me they all sound the same. Obviously the concept of individuality hasn't yet reached this market. What happened to accentuating the natural female Arabic beauty?

Respect Jordan: Clean Up After Yourself

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I'm sitting at a traffic light the other day, when I witness some guy toss a wadded up piece of paper out of his car and onto the street. This burns me up! Every day, people toss their trash all over the city with the expectation that someone else will pick it up. I view this as a huge form of laziness and disrespect towards one's country.

I partially blame the government for this mentality. By providing the low-class street workers (the zibaal, if you will) in order to try to keep things tidy and provide additional jobs, perhaps the government has inadvertently set into play the idea that they will be the sole provider for cleanliness in Amman.

On the other hand, I largely blame the population. There is a certain expectation that keeping Jordan clean (and safe, and green, etc. But I digress...) is someone else's responsibility. Take my neighbors, for instance. They march their trash bags out to the street and plop them along the wall across from our apartment building. Not only does this build up to an unsightly pile of garbage until the street worker finally hauls it away, but it allows the cats to break it open and strew the trash all over my yard. I might be able to understand this course of action if there wasn't a government-provided dumpster 20 paces down the street! My neighbors are just too lazy to walk their trash down and dispose of it properly.

I find no excuse for such behavior. Not only does it affect the city in which we live, but such attitudes play into other aspects of life, as well. I feel that we all would like to live in a city that is modern, appealing and well kept. If we all do our part as decent citizens to take care of Amman, there is no reason why she cannot become the Jewel of the Levant.

Big Honkin' Hole

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

This past week, the Powers That Be blocked off all 4th Circle traffic and began to detour cars through my neighborhood in order to begin digging the 4th Circle Crater. Despite the extra flow of traffic past my house, I welcome the change. The faster they finish the tunnel, the more enjoyable 4th Circle should become.

Ironically, now that the traffic is being routed, it flows much more efficiently than when there was an intersection. It definitely flows better without police traffic control assistance.

Where There Is A Traffic Jam...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Where there is a traffic jam in Amman, it's a pretty good bet that the police are directing traffic. I kid you not, when it comes to controlling traffic flow, these guys are utterly useless.

Just before they started the 4th Circle Crater, I sat for 7 minutes waiting for the police officer in charge to allow the right-of-way for my line of traffic. During that time period, the officer allowed traffic coming from the west to flow for 6 minutes. After that, traffic from the east were permitted to flow for an entire minute before he opened it up to traffic from the north.

Just this morning, I sat for 20 minutes on Wadi Saqra while waiting to clear the intersection. During that time period, I only moved about 20 meters. One meter per minute; way to go guys. Keep up the good work!

Here's how I think the process works. The police recruitment officer walks out on the street asks some poor schmoe, "How would you like to become a police officer? Really? Great, here's your badge. Now go direct some traffic."

How Do I Love Fridays?

Friday, April 14, 2006

Let me count the ways:
  1. The roads are free from annoyances citizens, allowing me to drive quickly and freely around Amman.
And that's about it.

And So It Begins...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

As an American living in Jordan, I decided it was high time I added my voice to the din of others in Jordan. I feel that mine might be an...let's just say interesting...take to life in the Arab world. Only time will tell.