This series of observational posts derives from diaries I have kept while abroad. The title comes from Tiziano Terzani’s travel epic ‘A Fortune Teller Told Me’. As well as fortune tellers, Terzani acknowledges the usefulness of insights gleaned from conversations with taxi drivers.
One advantage of speaking the local language in a foreign country is simply being able to listen to locals’ opinions and stories. Taxi drivers are easy practice in this regard. Often, you are their audience for the journey, whether you like it or not. In starting all you need to do is nod along, the odd ‘I understand’ and ‘ah I see…’ and watch where the conversation goes….
The cheap cost of taxis and lack of public transport in Amman make taxi driving a huge employer. It draws men (only) of all ethnicities, religions and ages so jumping in a taxi ready for conversation is often surprising.
I will try to open up some of the insights I had into the culture of Amman via selected adventures I had with taxi drivers there. These often began with one-line pearlers such as:
“A woman’s body is like a piece of meat, you can’t leave it uncovered or it will become rotten…”
“I grow marijuana near the border…”
“Come on, you know you can’t sit in the back with a girl?!”
I hope you find them insightful and enjoyable…