A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Bent il Balad

It hasn’t even been three years since we moved to Jordan and I already see that the “Bent il Balad” traits have overcome those of “Bent il Khaleej”. People still claim that they can tell that I wasn’t raised in Jordan because of the way I dress (“you look like such a Khaleejeyeh cause you’re wearing white on white, who wears white on white?!”). Yet, my wardrobe has less razzle-dazzle and plenty more comfort, and the entire collection doesn’t change according to fashion any more.

The drive-thru guy at Burger King looked at me puzzled last week when I told him that I am Bent il Balad after he told me I’m too smiley and that I must be a tourist. Yet, a colleague at school also told me that I look mighty scary with my kashra when I’m behind the wheel.

I wasn’t killing myself over arriving 5 minutes late to a meeting a few days back, something the Gulfian Kid in me would have never done. Yet, the other 3 people who were supposed to be there too were 20 minutes late, and so in comparison, I’m still the Gulfian Kid.

But I’m really starting to get comfortable with the “Bent il Balad” persona, jeans, kashra, et all.

(Prelude to a “Banat Il Riyadh” post that should be showing its face somewhere in this space)


Tickling inspiration


Amman’s Aura and Jewels


  1. EP

    looool.. kashra!

  2. well without any time taken to decide we would know if you lived in jordan or not. everybody here lives in a stupid stereo type jordanian built for themselfves “being cool and carp”
    and they gossip about anyone who isn’t like them and sometime refuse them and other jordainian who do not like this stereo type love you for being out of it

  3. Assi: See the kashra is something you acquire by radiation – your friend bikasher, you end up doing it but you never know why.

    Kashra is more than frown, it is a Jordanian concept. Behind the kashra is a (sharrani) – an aggressive persona – with so much discontent in their life. It is not misery, or helplessness, it is an aggressive attitude to life, a sort of “malak khayyo” look.

    It is also a pre-emptive defensive mechanism to turn people away before their land their wasta request on your desk. But equally, it is an offensive strategy to guarantee squeezing the most out of your opponent by what we call now “Psy Ops” – to scare them into accepting your terms.

    The dual defense/offence purpose of kashra has given it an aura – certainly, the success rates are close to 95% and not least with poor foreign visitors to Jordan. This weapon is also part of Jordan’s secret arsenal, for it can repel the invader without any material or collateral damage – something that not even WMD can do.

    As Iran is working hard on enriching its Uranium, I suggest Jordan take proactive steps at enriching the kashra ultra-secret weapon. We are certainly generations ahead of any potential competitor.

  4. OMG, the Burger King guy really said that to you? WHAT??? Which one, point him out to me, I’ll scream at him for you, I’m always screaming at the Burger King people anyway, who knows, might be a guy I’ve screamed at in the past…

    Hey, do whatever you want and act whichever way you want and etc., you’ll leave behind you a trail of people who’ll remember ya forever!

    But never lose the driving-kashra. This kind of kashra must be present on all drivers in Jordan should they which to survive. It’s a jungle out there.

  5. Abu Kashra, lol, what a very intricate analysis of the kashra.. me likes!

    Hal, haha, I actually found it quite amusing.. He didn’t say it in a demeaning way, 7aram he was honestly surprised. And yes, yes, driving kashra is essential, especially if you are a woman- it’s like, shu 7abeebi? Meen mfaker 7alak?

  6. enjoyed this post (an the comments) immensly. White on white.. What IS that??

  7. moi

    The Jordanian kashra is the thing I look forward to most every summer as I head to my beloved Jordan. A Jordanian stuck in the US, a country full of stupid smiley people definitely needs a few months in kashra-country :D
    When I smile at people I don’t know in Jordan (like walking in the street or something), I get the following reactions:
    1. guys sometimes look confused, and then react with a different kind of smile, yuck.
    2. women turn around assuming that I’m looking at someone else.
    3. in general, people think, what the heck is wrong with her?

    Abu-kashra, you got me excited, I thought you really had a website :(

    Roba, we should go around Jordanian streets on a smiley spree with a hidden camera; we could make a documentary out of it!
    (ok, I’m getting carried away)

  8. LOL
    Kashra goes with getting your national ID or passport … otherwise you risk being classified as non-Jordanian .. LOL

    Don’t lose your lovely smile for a cliche or a stereotype that is stuck to us .. if you feel like smiling .. just do that and you have a lovely smile by the way .. so it is better to share it than keep the kashrah on!

    banat el balad gada3at wallah .. and you are proof of that .. so am I and many other great ladies out there .. just be yourself :)

  9. BTW .. thank you for linking to my post about Banat AL Riyadh … I really liked that book!

  10. Abu-Kashra

    moi: sorry to excite you about the website. I deleted my kashra blog in Feb. Man, blogging used to only add to the intensity of my daily kashra.

    and I don’t understand why you and Roba would go around Amman smiling randomly. or شر البلية ما يضحك?

    Wait till you get children and have to pay their fees, acquire lovely neighbours, have your car scratched by a kid, lose the count of zeros when looking for an apartment, or can’t drive the car you bought because petrol is more expensive than blood, and and and…etc. What is there to be smily about? 3eff 3anna

  11. Ahmad, haha, I just literally translated “Abyad 3a abyad”, I guess it doesn’t make any sense in English!

    Moi, that actually sounds realllllly cool! I love doing eccentric little projects in Amman to see how people react. The reactions are so funny.

    Khalidah, lol, teslami :) Anyway, i’d never stop smiling.. but I’m definitely smiling less often.

    Abu Kashra, ama nakad il Jordan style eh? :P

  12. Hey Roba,You are totally bint el balad..I would never have thought your were a khaleeji bred girl!!

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