Arabian airport etiquette 101: follow the white girls. If you don’t know what to do, don’t know where to go, look for a blonde. And stick with her. Actually, that’s probably not great advice, seeing as how I’m blonde and I basically never know where I’m going. But, still, it’s a pretty good bet.
I’ve been in Jordan for a week by myself, visiting some friends I met there in August. When we were there with the mission group, I wasn’t able to really take in much of the culture, so going back and staying with a Jordanian family gave me that experience.
Jordan is such an interesting country. I’ve never been exposed to Muslim culture before. In Jordan, Christians and Muslims co-exist in society, but with Christians composing around 2% of the population, the laws and culture are Muslim. So, it’s a really unique situation.
One of my friends told me there are only about 5000 believers in the whole country. He asked me how many we had in the US and I couldn’t even fathom a guess. We so take for granted the fact that we live in a Christian nation. After spending just a week in a Muslim country, I can say that most assuredly.
Take our culture, turn it upside down, twist it around, turn it inside out, then smooth it back out, and you’ll have an idea of what the Muslim culture is like. It’s just the most different thought processes and ways of doing things that you could imagine.
But, it was a good experience for me. I think we have so many pre-conceptions about Middle Easterners and most of them are completely unfounded. Admittedly, all of my friends and the families I know in Jordan are Christians, so that may change things slightly in the ways they act. But, the base culture is the same and they are such fun people.
So, to catch everyone up, I’m basically doing a winter world tour. I started in Korea, with Jake and Jordan, visiting friends there. Then, Jordan left us and me and Jake went on to Germany to visit another friend. From there, we split up and I went to Jordan (the country) and Jake went home.
In case anyone doesn’t know where Jordan is, it’s situated snugly in the Middle East by Israel, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. Perhaps you’ve heard of some of these places on the news? Yeah, needless to say, my friends and family were not too excited I decided to go there. But, I got the invitation to be hosted and took them up on the offer!
I boarded in Germany with no problems and to give you an idea of what Jordanian people are like: when we landed in Amman (the capital), I had received a phone number and two email addresses from fellow passengers with offers to help me with anything I could possibly need. They helped me off with my bags and through everything at the airport. Jordanians will extend themselves to no bounds to help someone else. They really rival our Southern hospitality.
After gathering my bags, I found my friends right away. Maybe I don’t need my airport etiquette after all. Seems I find my way around by myself just fine!