woensdag 9 september 2015

Taxi drivers and Daesh


a selfie with a portrait from his majesty
One of the typical things about big cities are the taxi's. Whether you find yourself in London, Casablanca or any other (big) city in the world taxi's, taxi's everywhere. And of course in Amman too. I once read a story about King Abdullah going 'undercover' in the country and especially in taxi's to hear the everyday stories from his own nationals.1 Before going to Jordan I thought that I could do the same by "going undercover" as a local while being a tourist!

And of course I was curious to see if the demonstration effect would take place. This effect supposedly changes the value systems and the moral basis of societies for tourists to make it easier for them to "fit in".2 Are Jordanian people different to tourists in social interactions than their "own" social interactions?  What better way than to 'research' this in a taxi with a Jordanian taxi driver!

The fourth day of the summer school I went downtown Amman to buy a few souvenirs with my colleague students. On our way bay to the ACOR-hostel we decided to take a taxi. The taxi driver first tried to speak with us in English but after that I continued my conversation with him in Arabic and he had a lot of interesting things to tell. He told me that Jordanian people are way more 'desperate' for (what he called) a better life than they show themselves to tourists, especially himself. He also told me that there are no jobs in Jordan or a prospect on a better life for most of the people. He became quite angry (and we could really see that in his driving style..) when I asked him about the effect of Daesh on Jordan and kept swearing and cussing on them. Apparently the war in Syria and Iraq really affects the Jordanian people in their daily lifes. I realized that the constant treath of daesh (and the connected drop in tourism) really affects the daily lives of the Jordanian population. Then after the rant on daesh he asked me if he could marry one of the girls on the backseat of the car in able to get a dutch passport. Sad for him we had to disappoint him..

Jelle and me trying to look like locals

Daesh = Al Dawla al-Islamyia fil Iraq wa’al Sham = Islamic state in Iraq and Al-Sham = داعش

2.Williams,S. (1998). Tourism geography. Pschology Press. p.140

2 opmerkingen:

  1. You gotta love taxi's! They are the most comfortable means of transportation abroad. And so much cheaper than in Holland. But all kidding aside, really good blog entry Anouar. I enjoyed reading it. In social interactions with locals it's so much better to speak the language! They really open up if they know you can understand them in their own language.

    Sad to read about the impact of turmoil in the region on the people of Jordan. We all saw and heard the crisis Jordans tourism is inn because of it. Most have been interesting (and scary because of the driving) to talk to a local taxi driver about this topic.

    1. Thank you very much for your nice comment Eva! I hope we all learned from the good and bad experiences over there. And good luck with finishing the blog ;)