Viewing entries tagged
cab rides

dispatches from the Middle East - shared cabs and night rides

It’s been a helluva week, and I cannot be happier than ever that it’s over, especially after recent events at work. The weekendd starts tomorrow, and I’ve got some pretty fun plans for tomorrow. Cordu, a fellow intern at JT, and I are gonna go to Souk Abdali, a weekly market that sells everything from clothes straight from the wholesaler to fruits and veggies and toys. I think I talked a little about it in one of my first posts, but yeah. It’s a mecca for bargain stuff, really. Anyway, I know that I was hoping to finally write some more analysis-type stuff on things that’s happened to me, but that’ll have to wait over, you’ve guessed it, descriptions of things I did today!! Yay!!!!!!!!!1

First of all, I finally got to meet my sources and did a group preliminary interviews and somewhat solidify what I’m gonna be reporting on. Just so that I can send my pitch letter back to outlets in Seattle. So far, a lot of it is still really up in the air, but the NGO I’m hoping to profile says that they may do some field work in the next couple of weeks and I could come with. Exciting to have this project finally move, even if just a little bit. In addition, though they’re not promising anything (understandably), there might be a possibility that I could come and cover their work in Zaatari or Azraq refugee camps. Guess we’ll see, but fingers crossed.

Now, on to the next point. I also got to go to ballet class!!! Yippeeee. It’s been a month geez…. My turns are not what they used to be, nor are my balances and strength. But who cares, dancing feels so good, and it makes me feel amazing afterwards. After that, I had iftar in one of the malls in Sweifiyeh and went back to work and all that. Finished work at about 10 p.m. and then decided to go check out Rabiah neighborhood where the Israeli embassy is. I couldn’t find it after walking around the neighborhood and asking around, but it did seemed a little quiet in the area, so I decided to go back home. I told the driver to go to Jabal Lweibdeh where I live, and apparently he didn’t know how to get there from where we were. Guess what, neither did I. He also spoke about as much English as I do Arabic, only like a even a little bit less. So we kind of just drove around a little bit and at one point, this girl hailed my cab and said to go to Tajj Mall, which is a fancy mall in a fancy part of town. The driver said to come in (sharing cabs is kind of a thing here). She thanked me for letting her share the cab with me. I think the driver told her that I didn’t speak Arabic and he didn’t speak English. Well guess what, she started speaking English and got super excited. Apparently she’s a Jordanian who was born in New York and currently lives in California, but she’s in town for the time being. She comes to Amman about once every year, kind of like me and Jakarta.

Anyway, we exchanged numbers and she told me to call her if I got lost on the way to Lweibdeh lol, and we made plans to hang out later on Friday. But anyway, we passed by Abdoun, the fancy part of town I mentioned, and apparently they closed down the streets around the U.S. and Israeli embassies cause of things happening in Gaza in Israel, as well as possible protests happening here. There were protests and attempted sit-ins at the Israeli embassy last night, with arrests and stuff. There were also things going on in Irbid, which is a ways north from Amman. Rajive told me earlier that it may be crazy tomorrow around al Balad with public rallies. Not exactly sure what he means by that, or what might happen, but I guess we’ll just see. Everything that’s happening around us is fucking crazy.

Moving on with the story though, after we dropped Tala, the New Yorker-Californian-Jordanian at Tajj Mall, we set off for Lweibdeh. At this point, the driver knows where to go and how to get to Lweibdeh. But of course, we stopped for these two guys who also shared the cab with me. They didn’t speak English tho, so I couldn’t make friends or eased the awkwardness. But we went to somewhere I’m not really sure where, but it was in East Amman (Abdoun, Tajj Mall, and Rabiah are all in West Amman, the more well-off part of town), and it was kind of a ways away from both Abdoun and Lweibdeh. It was kind of awk, but I don’t really mind it though, I like driving around at night and kind of get to see the city glow with life at night, especially during Ramadan where the lives extend all the way to Sahur (that’s the Indonesian spelling, the Arabic one is apparently suhoor), which is the pre-dawn meal that people have before a day of fasting during Ramadan.

Anyway, afterwards we finally went to Lweibdeh, and the driver tried to make conversation with me, but we didn’t speak each others’ language, so we ended up conversing via informal sign language and gestures (lol). It was kinda weird, but he was nice and not awkwardly weird or rude or whatever. Anyway, I got home around 12 and drank a beer and now writing tis post while watching the news on Al Jazeera. Damn it’s depressing. The news is fucking depressing. And it’s fucking hot here.