July 9th: Land of Juxtapositions

We had an orientation on our second day to get us acquainted with certain customs in Jordan that may differ to our home country. One important differentiation was taxi etiquette. Aside from honking at females, taxi drivers absolutely love asking personal questions – or questions that appear quite personal to North Americans, without any reservation. “For women, they will ask you if you are married, and for men they like to ask if you are Muslim. It doesn’t matter if my wife, who wears the hijab, is sitting in the back and I am sporting a topi (a prayer cap). They ask the question regardless.” explained Anik our orientation leader. In North America and in other Western countries it would be odd and uncomfortable to ask a stranger about their religion. We tend to have a ‘don’t ask don’t tell policy’. In Amman, boundaries between professional and personal questions are oftentimes blurred. And in the case of taxi drivers – non-existent. As we boarded a cab to head to the restaurant, Anik sat at the front and began talking to me and my two other female classmates in English. During a lull in the conversation, the taxi driver interjects and … Continue reading July 9th: Land of Juxtapositions