I haven’t been stuck in a single traffic jam so far in 2012, although everyone’s complaining about it being really crowded this summer. Here’s how to do it:
- Get busy in an air-conditioned venue on weekdays from 10:00AM to 5:00PM.
It could be a job, a class, a workshop, or anything else that will keep you occupied during the heat and the traffic. This step is essential. Aside from melting in lines of cars and people, nothing good will come out of the hot day. Use it make money, learn something new, or do some good.
- Avoid the Rainbow like the plague after 6:00PM, all week round.
Rainbow Street is a disaster in its own right after 6:00PM. Too many people wandering around aimlessly, too many cars crowding the streets, and too many hungry-for-entertainment Ammanis eating, drinking, and catcalling in the restaurants and cafes. If you must make that trip, make sure you don’t leave the area before 1:00AM.
- Avoid the main streets in Sweifeyeh, Rabyeh, Gardens, and Abdoun.
Of course, there are patterns as to when these areas are crowded. If you’re not familiar with the patterns, avoid. If you must make that trip, make sure you don’t leave the area before 1:00AM.
- Learn the backways.
The beautiful thing about Amman is that there are always a hundred million ways of reaching the same location, and one of them is bound to be free. Backways worth knowing: Khalda through Rabyeh, to avoid Gardens; downtown to Jabal Amman; Ras El Ein to get from Jabal Amman to Abdoun and vice vera; inner Shmeisani to avoid Dowar Al-Dakhleyeh and Dowar Al-Madeeneh; and residential area parallel to Zahran Street.
- If you need to go to the mall, stick to Friday and Saturday mornings.
The malls are empty in the AM and early PM on weekends. Only do your shopping then.
- For the evening, find a few places you love in Weibdeh, Um Uthayna, Shmeisani, and Third-to-Fifth Circle areas.
Sounds harder than it is, but if you avoid the “hip” areas, you’ll never see traffic in your life. Find a few friends with a nice backyard, and occupy.
- Cherish the daylight in the weekends.
People hide on weekends when the sun is out. Use that time to enjoy the city. Go out. See some art. Walk your legs. Enjoy.
- Attend as many cultural events as you can.
It’s okay to get stuck in traffic when you’re attending a cultural event, you’re probably going to be rubbing shoulders with shitloads of people in all cases, so it’s more tolerable. There’s a lot happening this summer too.
- Avoid arguileh cafes, and find outdoor areas to sit in.
Argeeleh cafes are an experiment in claustrophobia. If you avoid them, you’ll start feeling better very quickly. Meanwhile, if you invest in spending time in finding a great outdoor spot (Canvas is great), you’ll thank me later. Enjoy the summer under the stars in Amman’s mild temperatures.
It’s okay. It’s the summer. The day is long. Don’t honk your horn every five minutes. Don’t cut the line of cars. Don’t be an ass. Just take a deep breath, put that smile on, and breathe. You’ll be fine.
And that’s how I enjoy my summers. With lots of watermelon, too.