Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Heckling and Hospitality

I took another venture to the store today, this time with no stroller and only one child.  It went much better!  On my journey, I had two different experiences with local people that represent, in my opinion, the basic interactions a foreigner may have.

Experience #1:
As I'm walking along, baby strapped securely to me, I suddenly hear meowing...and not from a cat.  One of those colorful, old, Arab-style trucks drives past with a cigar-smoking 30-something man lounging in the back, and I discover that he is the source of the meowing, and that he is also staring at me somewhat creepily.  I've learned that the best response is to just ignore the heckler, and ignore him I did.  There are plenty of respectable gentlemen in Jordan, but there are also a fair share of those who "appreciate" women too much and aren't afraid to vocalize it embarrassingly.  Surprisingly, having children and even a husband with me has no effect on dissuading the behavior. 
These are the sorts of trucks, but this one was a flatbed.
Experience #2:
On the walk back home, laden with bags and--I'm sure--looking bedraggled, a car pulled over and a kind, upper-middle-aged, Muslim lady got out and offered to give me a ride.  She felt sorry for me and the baby walking out in the hot sun with all those bags.  I was so touched by the offer, and it's the perfect showcase of the amazing hospitality Jordanians are famous for.  I was nearly home by then so didn't take her up on the offer, but am so appreciative for the thoughtfulness.

A side, interesting note: As I was nearing the store, I observed an older man exiting the store and crossing the side street to hail a cab, and as he crossed my eyes were drawn to his feet.  One foot walked forward, and the other walked back!  I did a double-take, triple-take--Yes, indeed, the man had one backward foot.  His leg was not twisted or deformed; his foot was simply facing the wrong direction.  It may be the most bizarre thing I have yet seen. 
This photo is obviously Photoshopped as I couldn't get a real picture, but it gives an idea.


  1. How lovely is that? I almost would have been tempted to take that lady up on her offer just to make sure she understood just how sweet it was.

  2. I know, I should have...I also was having a hard time getting over that steadfast rule of "never get in a car with a stranger." But I did thank her profusely for stopping.