Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I'm sure the city will celebrate

I just completed an hour's walk around the neighborhood and most of the men were preoccupied with their television sets. I knew what was going on and I joined in and watched with them, but Jordan was playing Oman in the Asia World Cup qualifier. The city was peaceful because everyone was attentive to the game, but now I'm sure car horns will be blaring, fireworks will be set off, and shouts will be heard. In fact, I hear the noise picking up right now.

I started my walk descending Jebel Hussein and I took the first set of stairs I could find. They don't build stairs here as in the western world. They believe the shortest distance between two points is a straight line and they are right, but that is not how to build stairways. It is better for a person and easier on the body if stairs zigzag along the hill's slopes with built in places for a person to rest along the way. Here, they just build it straight up and down and the stairs aren't even the same height. One has to be extra steady.

I walked down one set of stairs only to find the last eighth of it was blocked off because the stairs eroded. I had to climb the stairs and choose another route. It is a good thing the purpose for my walk was exercise.

I sang with some kids who were outside a storefront. They started singing because I had my IPod playing and I must have been singing along.

I noticed that the men here will look at you and will keep their eyes fixed on you. It isn't a stare and it is not a stare down. I let it go for a while and then I wink or smile and they burst into an ear-to-ear grin.

The days are really hot here and there is a particular blue flower that comes out when it is very hot. These flowers are all over the place this week.

I chatted with one guy as there were two huge piles of sand and stone on the sidewalk. It made walking impossible except to walk on the street. Once I engaged him in the conversation, he said that the owner is making some renovations. He seemed to have no problem with their dumping the materials on the sidewalk. For him, it is just a customary thing to do. One day it will be gone and people will be able to pass again. I have to keep reminded myself that they will not understand proper principles and standards until (a.) fines are levied or (b.) they develop into a litigious society. I don't want the latter, but the first one would help at all levels of society.

With proper fines, parking on sidewalks would cease. Parking on on- and off-ramps would cease. Double and triple parking would lessen. Revenues would be generated for the city, especially if they were to install AND use parking meters. Without financial penalties, the city will not evolve the way it wants and needs. I want better for Amman. I want better for myself.

By the way, congratulations to the Jordanian soccer team.

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