The Stamp Collection: Amman’s assault on the senses.

The light of Amman, Jordan is strikingly similar to many parts of Australia, perhaps derived from the age of both areas – their vibrancy worn by thousands of years of activity.

The light is dry, bright, harsh and shallow – like the contrast has been turned up on the TV. It refracts off the ubiquitous sandy grey surfaces of every building, leaving few shady refuges. The glare is intensified by the doggedly cloudless sky, making you lose  sense of distance and scale as the cinder-block buildings roll over the endless hills. Continue reading

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A taxi driver told me: “A woman’s body is like a piece of meat…”

Alex Ray

Amman, Jordan April 2013.

The taxi pushed through the ceaseless traffic of the capital’s wealthy western suburbs. Gazing out of the open window, I was met by a blast of hot air. It was spring and by Australian standards, certainly shorts and T-shirts weather. My decision to wear knee length shorts to class that day had caught the driver’s eye. Continue reading

Unis need proper links with Arab countries

Through my own attempts to study Arabic in-country in my undergraduate years I became aware of a shocking lack of support for Australian students interested in studying in the Arab world.

While opportunities for students wishing to study abroad in North America, Europe and increasingly East Asia, are vast, not one Australian university offers students the chance to spend a semester or more on the ground in an Arabic speaking country. Continue reading