Taxi in Amman

The distances in Amman are huge. From my house to bus station is around 8 kilometers. To the office is even a bit more. But the public transport in Amman is not the best. Therefore we have to use quite a lot of taxis. The good side of this is the cheap price – the fee of entrance is 0.25 JD and every kilometer is about 0.23 JD. During the night, ofcourse, it’s more expensive. In most cases the taxi drivers drink coffee and smoke. The golden rule for drivers is to open a window, show their hand and then it is allowed to do any manouver which he wants.

The other side of taxi rides are interesting and not so interesting drivers. Here I’ve collected some examples, which I have directly been involved or have heard from other volunteers.

* After Charlie Hebdo attacks taxi driver asked one volunteer, where she is from. She answered, that she’s from Denmark. Taxi driver continued by asking:”Why do You draw pictures of our prophet?” She replied:”Why do You kill people?”. Taxi driver was confused and said, that he doesn’t kill people. She calmly replied:”I don’t draw cartoones”. Wow 🙂

* Usually taxi drivers asks where are we from and then proceeds to welcome us around 5 times. If we share taxi with someone who is from Germany, following might happen: “Almania? Oh yes, Hitler good, yes, very good, yes-yes!”

* Once a taxi driver asked if we want coffee. We politely refuseed, to which he proceeded to make a stop, buy me a coffe, my wife a Nescafe (for women Nescafe, for men coffee ofcourse!) and after that he proceeded to offer us cigarettes. Welcome to Jordan!

* Another time we were in huge traffic jam and were just talking with a driver. He turned out to be palestinian and after hearing that we work with palestinian refugees didn’t want any money from us. Our conciousness didn’t let accept this gift, but it was nice!

* One volunteer couldn’t get the change back (1 JD), so she decided to sit in a taxi till the taximeter filled up the extra one JD. That took a while 🙂

* All the taxi drivers think You’re from America. That is their question always – America?. Also, none of the taxi drivers know where is Estonia. They usually think it is Espana. Not suprising, to be honest.

* Once we had a nice 10 minute talk with taxi drivers about pronunciation of letter H in arabic. They have two different H letters, that sound for me the same. So, the conversation looked like this:”Say H”. “H”. “Okay, now say H” “H” “No, you said H, not H”. This went on for 10 minutes. Still don’t understand the difference.

by Nikolai

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