Laura Finaldi in Jordan, 2012

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Meeting the locals and other good stuff.

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The little turretts remind me of Agrabah. You know, like from “Aladdin.” Do they remind you of that too? Probably.

Here’s another lesson I’ve learned the hard way: getting around Amman is nearly impossible unless you speak Arabic. Also, many cab drivers don’t know specific streets, so when they ask you for directions in Arabic, it’s all kinds of messy. Twice, I’ve had cab drivers pull over and ask people who worked at nearby gas stations for directions.

Luckily, that’s where our survival Arabic class comes in. Survival Arabic is a very basic class for just us journalism kids. We’re not learning how to read or write the language (although that would be pretty cool). We’re just learning basic words to get by. Today, we learned how to order in a restaurant. In case you were wondering, the word for “banana” is “mauz,” and cheese is “jibneh.” I’m so knowledgeable.

This is us in survival Arabic. Although it may not look like it, we survived.

We keep having the most interesting adventures. Yesterday, Bri, Hillary, Mel and I decided to trek out to the University of Jordan to track down expert sources on our stories–a task that ended up being a lot more difficult than we had anticipated. First of all, unlike many places in Jordan, the university doesn’t have any signs that are in English, making it nearly impossible for us to get around, let alone find people to talk to. Not that people didn’t want to talk to us–quite the contrary. At the sight of four American girls making their way through a university, all of the students, particularly the male ones, couldn’t seem to stop staring out of pure shock. Being a foreigner is weird, but it’s kind of cool. I think I’ve said that before.

Anyway, we had a group of guys following us around for awhile, trying to help is get where we needed to be. They barely spoke English, and after awhile it became more of a struggle than anything else. It’s interesting how different Jordanian men are than American men. When an American guy talks to you, it’s usually because he thinks you’re hot and he’s trying to feel out his chances of hooking up with you. Here in Jordan, guys talk to you because they’re trying to be nice. If they’re romantically interested in you, they’ll come right out and say it. Hillary learned that lesson yesterday, after one of our new friends gave her a flower and his phone number (she called him today to ask him if he knew anyone who would be helpful for her story and he told her he missed her, el oh el).

So yeah, cool day. Last night, after a blogging/writing/homework sesh at Books@Cafe with a group of us J-kids, I met up with Kate and our host sister, Joud, at a cafe on Rainbow Street called Turtle Green Cafe. I’m a big fan of this place, mostly because of the speedy Wi-Fi and abundance of outlets. But the iced latte I ordered was also great.

Speaking of American things, I’ve had McDonalds for lunch the past two days. It’s right across the street from the university (we went back today for follow-up interviews). Carlene, if you’re reading this (which you are), I’m sorry.

Sorry Hil, there’s photographic evidence now … no denying it anymore.

This is what I’m listening to right now:

PS: Tomorrow we have the day off (weekends here are Friday and Saturday, because Friday is the Islamic holy day). I’m looking forward to getting some reporting done, spending some time with my host family and hanging out with some new friends I’ve made.

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Written by laurafinaldi

May 17, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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