Prices & Driving

25 Aug

Jordanian Dinar (JD) can be converted to U.S. dollars by using the formula:

JD x 1.47 = $US

In my somewhat limited shopping experience in Jordan, prices here are generally not lower than American prices.  This caught me a little off guard.  Observe the following purchases we’ve made so far…


  • used gas stove              180 JD = $264.60 US
  • electric fan                   26.9 JD = $39.54 US
  • basic bath mat                10 JD = $14.70 US
  • 5 bananas in a bunch   1.9 JD = $2.79 US

On the other hand, we got these items at relatively comparable or even lower prices than in the U.S….

  • hair dryer                        3.99 JD  = $5.86 US
  • new mattress                     277 JD = $407.19 US
  • filtered water dispenser    69 JD = $101.43 US

The craziest discrepancy I’ve seen was a simple, metal rack to hang clothes on; it was 47 JD, that’s $69.09 US!

Foreigners living in Jordan may purchase a car, but it cannot be older than 5 years.  Why?  What a great way for the government to make a little more money.  Oh yeah, everyone gets to pay 100% tax on cars as well.  Needless to say, Phillip and Rachel will be walking to and fro our destinations or catching a taxi.  (I asked about getting a bike, but apparently
it’s “haram” (shameful) for women to ride bikes here.  I’d love to see Hell’s Angels take a tour through Jubeha (our neighborhood in Amman); women on motorcycles AND exposed
shoulders with tattoos!  I digress.)

To all my colleges at Mercer, NOW I understand why our Arab students get tickets all the
time in Atlanta.  There are no similarities between Jordanian driving habits/rules/expectations and American ones.  My mouth gapes open about 90% of
the time I’m in a vehicle here.

  1. There are lines on the roads.  Mere suggestions.
  2. There are blinkers for every set of tail lights.  Neglected in favor of utilizing the horn.
  3. There are aggressive drivers in Atlanta.  They would be road kill in Amman.
Traffic Circles often replace lights at intersections. The constantly flowing, constantly merging traffic is something one can only truely appreciate by being in the midst of it.

Pushy is not quite sufficient to describe the manner in which most people drive here.  Pedestrians are just as, if not more aggressive than drivers.  I remain impressed; I’ve also noticed my prayer life deepening.

Oh yeah, I was one of those people who complained to the DMV about having to get an emissions check every time my birthday rolled around.  Why should I be bothered with multiple hoops to jump through before I can pay my tag tax? The air quality in Amman has helped me see the light.  I will not complain again about any steps I can take to prevent air pollution.  I often find it difficult to inhale while riding in a taxi.  (Drivers like to keep the windows down instead of running the a.c.)  Lest I deter any potential visitors, let me make one final disclosure:  off main roads, the air is fine. :)


One Response to “Prices & Driving”

  1. Jenny August 26, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    This is amazing!!! I’m just scared about the thought of you being a pedestrian and the crazy roads!!!

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