Friday, August 19, 2022

Traditions & Customs in Jordan

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Jordan is a very hospitable country for tourists and foreigners will be happy to help you if you ask. In turn, Jordanians will respect you and your culture if you respect theirs. Respect Islam, the dominant religion, and the King of Jordan.

Wear modest clothing at important religious sites. Respect the Jordanian monarchy, which has strong popular support. The Jordanian monarchy is very pro-Western and very open to reform, as are the Jordanian people.

Standing in Lines

Jordanians have a notable problem with standing in line-ups for service. Often, the back of the queue members try to push their way to the front and overtake those in front of them. Instead of resisting this tactic, the overtaken queue members often start using the same trick on the queue members in front of them. The end result is often a noisy scramble for service at the kiosk in question.

No one, including the person manning the kiosk, is happy when this situation develops, and often tensions in the jostling crowd seem so high that violent confrontations seem only moments away. However, violence does not occur and there is a sense that Jordanians collectively recognise clear boundaries as to what is appropriate when jostling in line.

Nevertheless, several strategies are proposed due to this widespread phenomenon in Jordan.

  • Arrive early, allow time and be patient. As a degenerating queue is rarely an efficient queue, plan into your travel plans the fact that it will inevitably take longer than expected to take care of all service booth arrangements, be it customs, ticket purchase, waiting for the bus, etc.
  • Don’t get upset yourself about the line-up or get carried away by the emotions of the crowd. You will keep moving forward even if a few people sneak in front of you. No one in the “queue” is completely unreasonable and you will not be pushed back indefinitely. Often you will end up being served at the kiosk no more than three or four laps later than expected. Just try to relax and take it easy.
  • Avoid queuing altogether if possible. Often at kiosks, groups are processed in batches, for example at a customs kiosk that processes a busload at a time. In these cases, if you are not already at the front of the queue, find a comfortable spot away from the crowd and just wait until the rest of the group has made their way through before you. Then make your way to the kiosk as soon as it is free. The advantage of being last is that the kiosk worker will appreciate your patience and be happy to take care of you, as he is not faced with a noisy crowd vying for his attention.

Also note that opening hours change during Ramadan and especially on the Eid al-Fitr holiday. Many restaurants, especially outside Amman, are closed during Ramadan during the day and only open at sunset. However, this does not affect the big restaurants near tourist destinations. Also, during Eid al-Fitr, it is impossible to get a servees (minibus) in the late afternoon or evening in many parts of the country. Plan ahead if you are taking a servee to a remote area; you may need to take a taxi back. However, JETT and Trust International Transport usually add more buses to their schedules during this time, especially those going from Amman to Aqaba.

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