A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: July 2005 (Page 1 of 4)

Women, the future today

As translated from Al-Ghad by yours truly,

“…Females did much better than males on the Jordanian secondary school leaving test Al-Tawjihi. On a national level, they held 41 spots from the 54 top spots in both academic and skill-based courses.”


Uhhh, no parle pas Francais or Lebanesais! Only Jordanie!

My Lebanese cousins are here for the weekend for the first time in almost 10 years, which is a whole lot of time, especially as they are teenagers. Anyhow, although the Lebanese have a stronghold over the Arabian media, although Lebanon is a Levantine country, and although these cousins are half Palestinian, I am finding it really hard to communicate with them.

Typically, the communication barrier is language, especially as their second language is French and not English. You’d think that adding an “-ay” to the end of every word would help them understand me and vice versa, but no, their vocabulary is a completely different set from mine. Then, when I want to explain to them what the word I just used means, for example “faye3”, I can’t resort to English because they don’t speak a word of it and I don’t speak a word of French! It happens with even simpler words, like “awa3i”(clothes). They don’t know what “awa3i” means, and I’m terrible with languages, so it is literally impossible for me to remember that the Lebanese equivalent is “tyeib” (but seriously, I understand where “tyieb” comes from, but what’s the etymology of “awa3i”?)

It’s just really ironic how I find it so much easier to converse with my American cousins. How sad is it that I find it demanding to communicate with the Lebanese in Arabic? Lebanon, a 3 hours cruise from Jordan! The Lebanese, with their monopoly over Arabic media! Cousins, whose mother is my father’s sister!

Sadder still is the case with other Arab regions, like North Africa and the Gulf. During the few times that I had the opportunity to communicate with North Africans, I could never get past hello, and although I lived in Saudi Arabia for most of my life, the Gulfian words I understand are “tsolfein”, “kobri”, and “ja7dah”.

I know that it is too late to change anything, especially as the Arab world is vast and spread over many lands. I also can’t really complain because I’m guilty of a much more drastic linguistic sin- I never had any real Arabic schooling!

Wow, I just realized I can say all of the above in 6 concise lines:

Roba says:
my aunt and her kids are here from Lebanon
Roba says:
yey 3al 7aki il lobnani
Roba says:
wala bafham 3aleihom eshi
Roba says:
and i cant explain in english..
Roba says:
cause they only speak french
Roba says:
its horrible

Planeteering across global heights

Left to right, standing row: Jad, Mohammad, Nader, Isam, Iyas, Ethan, Haitham, and Ahmad
Left to right, sitting row: Hind, Roba, Ammar

(Yes, that is the most random title in the whole wide world, but well, I’m watching a movie about airplanes, so it’s random with an explaination.)

Today, dearests, was the the 5th Jordan Planet blogger meet-up. I’m sorta losing count, the arithmetic side of my brain only handles the first three numerals then “safers” back to 0.

Numbers or not, the meet-up was great and a good amount of people showed up, some of them first timers like Haitham Sabbah, Mr. and Mrs. Jameed, Ethan Zuckerman of Global Voices, Egyptian blogger Mohammad Sameer, and Raida Il-Zo3bi(hello Raida). Naturally, the permanent meet-up members Isam Bayazidi, Nader Shnoudi, Ammar Ibrahim and myself also had to make a showing, and we had the pleasure of seeing Ahmad Humeid, Hind Sabanekh and Jad Madi again.

We talked about a lot of stuff, like the Global Voices project, an interest in launching blogging in remote areas of Jordan, and of course, computers, technology, and the internet.

Through the meet-up, Haitham and Iyas surprised me with a birthday tart for my upcoming birthday. That was really sweet of you guys :) I totally loved it!

First picture is of Haitham and Ethan, and yes, there really is a tree in the middle of the table. At first I thought it was cute, but now that my neck is all cranked up from trying to get a better view of Ethan and Haitham, it’s sooo not a good idea anymore! Second picture is of Jad and Mohammad.

First picture, Mr. and Mrs. Jameed and Haitham, I’m not sure what Iyas was doing, he was “passionately” telling Ammar something though… Second picture, Ethan, Ahmad, and Mohammad Sameer.

First picture, Mohammad showing us some glitch in some ATM machine. Second picture, me with my surprise birthday tart. Thanks again guys :)

For more on the meet-up and more pictures:
Haitham Sabbah
Ethan Zuckerman
Ahmad Humeid
Jad Madi

“Jeishana jeish il wa6an sameina bi esm allah, ye7mi il 3alam wil wa6an we3 yoon Abdalla!” Did you know ino that song is really popular after hours?

Interested in meet-ups 1 through 4?
Jordan Planet Meet up 1
Jordan Planet Meet up 2
Jordan Planet Meet up 3
Jordan Planet Meet up 4

PS. I’m not very happy with how colorless the group picture is… Why isn’t anyone wearing red..?

Bang Bang

Yes, it’s 1:00 AM, but the only thing I can hear anyway is toj toj, bang bang, and beep beep. That is, to those who aren’t aware of Jordan’s three rules of celebration- gunshots, fireworks, and a whole lot of very happy honking.

I am very much against the gunshots, but I’m all for celebrating in the Jordanian style, especially for Tawjihi, regardless if you think its nawari or not. Congratulations to all those who passed and did well, mabrook!

(And I will use this opportunity to diss the stupid system that is tawjihi. HOW CAN YOU PLACE THE LIFE OF A CHILD ON THE OUTCOME OF 2 MONTHS? Really, how can you? How can you place all that pressure on those kids? And how can you flunk half of them? It’s just mean.)

Special, special congrats to Abeer and Rasha!!! You go girls!

Little Lost Roba (Part III)

Yesterday, a cousin of mine told that JU did it again- they decided to go on and have a very drastic change in their system without telling anyone.

So apparently, the two semester model that has been used in JU for over a decade has now been changed back to the trimester model, and the starting date of the school year 2005/2006 has been pushed forward(backward?) from the usual October to Septemeber.

AH! Can’t they decide beforehand and let the students know before they go on their respective summer vacations?! And ok, if it was an impromptu decision, can’t they at least publicly declare it on their official website?! Or even deny it ya 3ami…


So, does anyone have details? Me, I’m lost.

Related lostness:
Lost Little Roba
Lost Little Roba (Part II)

I heart Amman

I came upon some really hilarious Ammanish material on the Jordanian blogosphere today and here are some of the stuff that just made my day, especially as today was particularly depressing with alerts and false alerts.

This years excessive use of fireworks is the talk of town- someone has mentioned it in almost every single conversation I’ve had this month, even if just in passing- “Batalo ta’7-ta’7a saro fagagee3, lazem yotrosho il nas”. So when I saw this cartoon by Sha3teeli, I just cracked up!

Then there were the awesome digi-shots that Jameed posted.

As Laith said, apparently, there’s a 25th hour that can only be found in Amman. I am, naturally, totally loving the idea. A TWENTY FIFTH hour that can ONLY be found in Amman! How can anyone not love Amman? The city of 25 hours(and hey, is that Bart Simpson?)…

You’re also gonna have to go check out Jameed’s blog to appreciate one of my very favorite signs in Amman- “New Yourk Nigt Club”. It’s on the way home from well, practically anywhere, so it’s been and endless source of laughter throughout the years.

I’m also totally loving the last picture- who in the world would write a book titled “Be Warned- The False Messiah Takes Over the World from the Bermuda Triangle”?
That’s a man I’d love to meet…

Amman Scenario 1

Read about Scenario 1 below


Amidst the intolerable stretch of hell that is labeled as “Garden’s Street”, the very inconspicuous speed-bumps, and the driving skills of highway Gulfians, summer’s traffic in Amman is practically intolerable.

This evening, I had to go drop my youngest brother to his friend’s house, and unfortunately, this friend lives in Khalda. The shortest way to get to Khalda from Shmesani is to ride across the one of the few things in Amman that I passionately hate- Gardens Street. The street that I am LITERALLY willing to go around the WHOLE of Amman just to avoid. The street that I hope will follow a similar fate as the restaurant that it was named after.

Oh, Gardens Street, Gardens Street, where shalt I start?

Shall I start the fact that it is a thin and impossibly long stretch of infinite traffic? Or the fact that the numerous speed bumps and never-ending traffic lights are placed at such horrible intervals that the whole driving experience on that street falls along the lines of “Accelerate. Slow down. Accelerate. STOP. Accelerate. Slow down. STOP. STOP. Accelerate. Slow down. Accelerate. Slow down. Accelerate. STOP. Accelerate. Slow down. STOP. STOP. Accelerate. Slow down.”

Or perhaps I should move on to the fact that it is home to some of the worst visual pollutants in Amman? The signage lining both its sides is horrendously unaesthetic(25 hours? 25 HOURS?!) Yet again, I should probably start with how random pedestrians jump into the street while apparently trying to cross, or with the insane amount of cabs randomly stopping to drop off or pick up a passenger.

And ah, how can I not give particular importance that this street seems to be a “bad driver magnet”? Today for example, I had to deal with some really old man who apparently believes that you are supposed to drive with lane dividers between the wheels of the car rather than center the car between the dividers. All my honking proved futile, although I did spend the rest of my Gardens Street drive with an 80 year old grouchy man riding my bumper, screaming at me from his window, and cutting me off at every possibility.

I also will have to mention the Gulfians, who have a really hard time adjusting to Amman’s mountainous narrow streets very different from the flat highways of the Gulf. YOU CANNOT SPEED INSIDE AMMAN WITH YOUR 5000 CC ENGINES. YOU NEED TO USE YOUR MIRRORS BEFORE YOU CHANGE LANES, OUR STREETS ARE SMALL. AND THESE ARE MOUNTAINS FOR GODSSAKE, MOUNTAINS!

Today was just not a good driving day.

And while I’m at it, will someone PLEASE do something about that damn speed bump on the inner Safeway street? It is huge, it is inconspicuous, it is not very car friendly, and worst of all, I can never remember that it’s there! It is going to be the end of my car, the end of my car I’m telling you!

(This post came from a positive, positive person)

More: Scenario 1 Illustrated

The ruler of the world gets a face lift

Admittedly, I love Coca-Cola’s brand identity- I love the curves, the logo, the colors, the packaging, and the general feel of a can of Coke.

Coca-Cola has now taken the design a step further by focusing on an design evolution. They comissioned five young design groups from five continents to rethink their packaging with an eye towards hip urban flair. The project, named “M5,” will serve as a visual rebranding aimed at discerningly creative consumers.

I really like what I see so far.

More: Cool Hunting

With or without love it’s all the same to me

I really love Farooha’s new cyberspace invented character, the Tagmanian Devil, who took it to hand to make sure I get tagged with the least suitable questions to ask me, but that I’m going to try to answer anyway, although I’m very, very cynical.

1- What does Love mean to you?
I believe in the feeling linked to the word “Love”, whether it is towards my beloved glue-gun, Firefox, or my friend Soos. I also strongly believe in infatuation.
But the whole fairytale of “Love” and happily ever after? Get real…

2- What does Marriage mean to you?
A counterpart family- for after all, we haven’t evolved enough yet to be able to function as well when not belonging to a larger supporting unit.

3- Do you believe in love at first sight?
I believe that this question depends on the people involved. If they’re simple and shallow enough to judge a person on looks and aura, that’s fine. For me though, “Love at first sight” has my double stamp of double BS.

4- How many children would you like?
Somewhere around 1 and 3, preferably 2.

5-If given the opportunity, what song would you sing for me on my wedding day?
Uh, Farooha babe, I don’t sing, but I can dance and chant my way through the Dabkeh and the zafeh, so I’ll get my dabkeh friends and make sure to inzefek bi several songs related to Palestinian and Jordanian weddings from “O lowla7i ya dalyeh”, “3aladal3ona”, and my very favorite, “Shu jananek la te3qali wo tetzawaji”.

6- What is your favorite holiday destination?
Anywhere laid back, cultured, and WARM.

7-What are three qualities you would look for in a man?
I actually have a draft about this, because Linda at some point asked, just never got to post it. Anyway, in a nutshell, brains(to an extreme degree too), passion( I am, by nature, excessively passionate, and so I generally find it impossible to comprehend the mentalities of average-achievers, the jaded, and the smug), and being fun loving, easy going, and up to anything.

8- What are the three qualities and three bad habits that you have?
If I were to say, I’d say my good qualities fall along the lines of unwarranted passion(not in the romantic side though), extreme easy-going-ness, and excessive positivity. My bad habits are probably along the lines of sometimes being weird without meaning to(and freaking people out), getting too attached to certain individuals, and heart breaking honesty.

9-Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Working in a field I love to death and finding satisfaction in my career.

The Tagmanian Devil is tagging MMM, Oleander, Nader, and Sinan.

And red not because red is the color of lurveee, but because red is the color of life.

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