Jordan is a strange and beautiful place. It is safer than I could have expected, children run free on the streets, goats and donkeys and camels are parked on the sidewalks, tribalism is the main form of government and people live like they did in biblical times! The difference now is the shepherd boy has an mp3 player and Bedouin tents have satellite dishes and solar panels!
Lettuce is unheard of, but Betty Crocker is readily available. Milk is largely imported from Saudi Arabia (which I don’t understand) and cars stay on the road until they are barely held together by duct tape. Speed bumps are usually unmarked, meaning I have bumped my head countless times in the back seat. Drivers use both sides of the road, and hitch hiking is considered public transit! Women in burkas and school children hitch rides (and always offer a small payment).
Western women are stereotyped by MTV (very popular here) and the radio is America’s top 40 with American speaking DJs! You get 3G almost everywhere. Dating does not occur here. If there is no ring on your finger, you are up for grabs! Or, haggling, that is. A good wife can go for a couple camels from a wealthy family!
Courting is an important part of the culture. A boy sees a girl. He falls for her. He tells his mother or sisters. They do all the “dating” for him. They check her out, see if she’s a good girl, and see if she’s interested. If yes, they are engaged! She is off limits until they decide to get married or not. If not, back on the daughter in law market! Word of mouth moves faster than Facebook! Everyone knows everyone’s business, and that keeps everyone moral. Sexual harassment is punishable by brutal beating and rape is punishable by death.
I have been living in a tiny village in rural Jordan for a month now! It all feels almost normal now!