Driving in Jordan

In one of my first blog posts, I made light of the warnings about driving in Jordan. It sounded charming rather than dangerous (“beware of unmarked speed bumps and livestock”). When we first moved here, we found the lack of rules and regulations slightly refreshing. No bubble wrapping of kids, no obsessive safety measures. After years of living in a state (Vermont) where a neighbor will call the police to complain about a teenager riding a bike without a helmet–in their own driveway–I found the laissez-faire attitude a relief. Now, I find it rather terrifying.

Very few people wear seat belts, cars made for 5 people often have 8 or 9 people stuffed in (with babies on laps, standing on the dashboard, hanging out the window or the sunroof), and, if there are any road rules, nobody follows them. People drive the WRONG WAY down the highway (sometimes backwards). They come to a complete stop on the highway to say “hi” to someone. They make their own lanes. And I won’t even broach the subject of the insanity of the rotaries.

And then, there are the wedding processions. I’m not sure I can adequately describe the terror of getting stuck in a wedding procession. Imagine a funeral procession in the US, with a long line of cars with their hazard lights flashing, driving slowly in one lane. Yeah. It’s NOTHING like that. Instead, the cars block all of the lanes of the highway (including, what I think is supposed to be the breakdown lane, but is, in reality, used as a regular lane). They slow down, they speed up, they come to a complete stop and spin donuts. And, sometimes, if you’re really lucky, one of the drivers will start shooting out the window. With a gun. 20 feet away from you. We’ve been stuck in these processions several times (luckily for us, only one involved gunfire), and each time I’m pretty sure the boys will be orphaned before the end of the drive.

Instead of wallowing in fear every time we hit the road, I try to find entertaining things to look at. I’ve become slightly obsessed with the back of trucks and their cargo. Following is a medley of my favorite pictures of “driving in Jordan.” Enjoy!

IMG_1094 IMG_0009 IMG_0920 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA IMG_1082 IMG_1114 IMG_1135 IMG_1155 IMG_1860 IMG_1979 IMG_2054 IMG_2924XO from Jordan

3 thoughts on “Driving in Jordan

  1. Fascinating! Aside from the obvious danger, I do worry about you all, you are having an experience of a lifetime. You should write a book. Thanks for sharing. Mari

  2. I am especially partial to the ones with camels. Fascinated, in a macabre, way at the utter lack of concern on the faces of the people bouncing around back there.

    So…I’m guessing you know exactly how much longer you have left on this particular odyssey? Putting X’s on your count-down calendar, yet?

    There’s nothing like living in a completely different culture to remind a person about what they appreciate about the imperfect culture back home. I’ve lived in Israel, China, and the Philippines. There’s just no exchange for experience and perspective.

    May your family live safely through the remainder of this experience, and may the perspective gained, benefit each of you in myriad ways in the future.

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