Friday’s Market

Every Friday on the other side of the mountain/hill, or jebel in Arabic, a market sparks up from an empty bus station lot transforming a field of asphalt into a frenzy of human activity that, if viewed from high above, would closely resemble ants on an abandoned picnic.
Vegetables and clothing are plentiful and inexpensive. The last time we went to get tomatoes for a salad the guys refused to let us pay. We tried a number of times to hand him some sort of payment just short of throwing money at him, but he continually refused.
Just last night we had dinner with some friends and were talking about how hard it can be at times living in the Arab world. These friends were here for four months and found it hard trusting the average Jordanian. Every cab ride for them was a challenge. Some cab drivers would conveniently forget to reset their meter, others would claim the meter was broken. Every purchase at the store was a hassle, which usually ended in them getting charged double what Jordanians would pay.
The marketplace is an exercise in Arab commerce. There are those who are so overly generous one feels they must have some hidden motive. There are those who charge more for a single banana than you would pay at the counter of a convenient store in the States. But after a little practice with the language and the ways of doing business, the game of purchasing becomes almost fun.

Posted November 4th, 2005 in Uncategorized.

One comment:

  1. Lau:

    Wish we in the west would have open air markets like in the M.E. and Africa. Although bargaining is not my favourite job, these markets are the best places to enjoy the richness of a country and meet people. It is what makes those countries much more lively than our streets.

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