A taxi driver told me: “It’s not the traffic, it’s the people.”

by Alex Ray

“Look, it’s not the traffic, it’s the people’s character,” the Amman taxi driver told me, as the beaten-up Nissan crawled from glitzy Abdoun to the core of the capital at Jebel Amman. The remark caught me off guard; he was the second taxi driver to deliver the same line that day.

Such frank self-criticism was comforting and took us straight past “Where are you from? What is your job? Are you married?” and into the melange of factors contributing to Amman’s often-aggravating public culture. Continue reading “A taxi driver told me: “It’s not the traffic, it’s the people.””

Snapshot: Amman’s scrap collectors

by Alex Ray
Below a five-star hotel in the West Amman suburb of Shmeisani, three young boys spend their Saturday morning scrounging for pieces of plastic, aluminium and other metals that can be sold for recycling.

Marwan sorting rubbish

Continue reading “Snapshot: Amman’s scrap collectors”

Appearances are everything on Amman’s Culture Street

by Alex Ray

Culture Street Shmeisani

A tiny blue and grey Tourist Police kiosk sits at one end of Culture Street, a 350 metre strip of low-rise apartment buildings in Shmeisani, an inner suburb of the Jordanian capital Amman. The area attracts tourists mostly from the wealthy Gulf states: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the U.A.E.

Continue reading “Appearances are everything on Amman’s Culture Street”

A Taxi Driver Told Me: “Let’s see what the policeman says…”

by Alex Ray

“Let’s see what the policeman says. Maybe he’s in a good mood and he’ll allow us to stay; maybe his wife gave him a hard time this morning and he’ll be in a bad mood,” said my Careem driver when I asked him to take me to the airport and drive me back to Amman. Continue reading “A Taxi Driver Told Me: “Let’s see what the policeman says…””

Snapshot: Souk al-Juma’a, Amman

by Alex Ray

On Friday mornings – the one time of the week when the daytime clatter of Amman settles momentarily – one spot is already buzzing with activity.
Souk al-Juma’a (The Friday Market) is Amman’s weekly clothes and fleamarket, located in Ras al-Ain, south of Second Circle. Continue reading “Snapshot: Souk al-Juma’a, Amman”

Snapshot: Second Circle, Amman

by Alex Ray

At 6.30 pm Asia Mart in Amman’s ‘Second Circle’ is doing a steady trade. One of the few noticeably multicultural areas in Jordan’s capital , the area is seeing an expansion of shops and services for migrant workers from South, and East Asia. Continue reading “Snapshot: Second Circle, Amman”

Jordan, the view from Gaza Camp

By Alex Ray

“The Kebabs are ready dad!” Faris yells over his shoulder. His father, busy preparing the bread and tomatoes cannot hear him, so he calls again. “Dad, they are ready!”

Taking matters into his own hands, Faris locates a near-full jerry can of water and drags it across the grassy picnic ground to douse the coals on the barbecue. Faris is only four years old and the jerry can is only slightly shorter than he is. But like most of Jordan’s refugee children he is fast learning to be independent.

Continue reading “Jordan, the view from Gaza Camp”