Tip #437: On the Way to the Dead Sea

“Customs form us all, our thoughts, our morals, our most fixed beliefs; are consequences of our place of birth.” Aaron Hill

What a day!

First, I tried to get money from my checking account from the ATM right next to the hotel (from which I had previously obtained money) and it would not let the transaction go through.

When Omar, my driver, showed up, we went to six different ATMs and four of them were not in service and the one that was would not accept my transaction.

I was thinking that I would have to cancel my trip to the Dead Sea, because my understanding was that I was going to need at least 200 JD (and I only had 150 JD) However, Omar saved the day. He told me about a beach that cost only 16 JD to enter (instead of the 60 JD that the Marriott would charge). Then I paid 1.5 JD each for a locker and a towel. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was simply a deposit that I received back when I returned the locker key and towel.

On the way, which took less than an hour, Omar told me about his children: twin 4 year olds, a 2.5 year old and a 1.5 year old, with another one on the way. He explained that Arabs like large families- and like to have the children one after the other.

That makes Mohammad, my driver from the airport, that much more unique in his concern that his wife not have more than 3 children.

Omar was born in Salt and is a Bedouin, so he has a swarthy complexion. He explained that when he was ready to have a wife, his mother and sister arranged for him to visit with the father and brother of the woman they had in mind for him. Omar only saw this woman for 2 minutes when she came in to bring coffee for the men and then left without speaking. Her father immediately asked Omar whether she was acceptable, and Omar said yes.

He was then able to visit with her in her father’s house, but nowhere else. No dating, no going for coffee or to a movie.

I asked him if the woman was able to say “no” and apparently she has no say in the matter, it is simply between the father and the potential husband.

On the way, we saw a large herd of goats with curled horns right in the city of Amman as well as outside the city. There were trucks piled high with tomatoes and lots of small farm stands. One enterprising farmer had parked his truck so you would see the side of the truck as you came down the road. He had arranged some kind of large lettuce all along the top of the truck. It looked very festive. And the fruits and vegetables available in the Jordan valley are lush.

We also saw Bedouins on camels! And on the way back, I saw a herd (is it called a herd?) of camels. Very exciting for me!

While we drove, Omar pointed out where we could see Palestine, gave me the name of mountains (I didn’t get that one down), pointed out the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley, and showed me when we went below sea level. The gradient on the road is very steep, so you can actually feel your ears close up as you’re driving!

May your learning be sweet.




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