The Only Way is Amman
This is my translation of a blog post by Osama Romoh (original post: http://osamaa.com/jordantaxi.php)
When you say “taxis of Jordan”, what comes to mind is the sheer extent of progress and prosperity in Jordan. Your imagination will soar until it reaches the outskirts of that philosopher’s ‘perfect city’. But then you put it into reverse and are suddenly back in a dried riverbed in Amman. Anyhow, let’s have a look at the different types of taxi drivers in Jordan:
The quiet taxi:
The driver of this taxi is not prepared to tire himself out talking to you. He’s chilled to the max and doesn’t want to disturb or distract you. No, come on, but he clearly looks like a tender fellow right? He doesn’t say a word the entire journey, not even Mr Bean managed that in his last film. Though he just might, in the middle of the road, break the silence with: “down here mate?” He says it in a way so frightening it chills you to the core. But that’s fine, you cope with it…Word of advice: it’s better you answer the question so he doesn’t throw you from the car.
The pimped up taxi:
No one else but this guy knows the ladies of Amman. He loves himself (and no one else), naturally he has done everything worth doing and, well, he is just the best. Don’t go thinking he will give you any space to talk, but be ready, for he will surely tell you all about Sally, Lena, Tamara and Christina. You may feel like you are in the middle of a soap opera. But then he will lean in close, take your hand and squeeze it (in a moral assurance kind of way). If he does this, don’t move or say a word, stay natural. But if he tightens his grip then open the door and get out. It’s better you don’t carry on.
The Doctor taxi:
Amman is full of this kind of taxi driver. He tends to have a B.A. or a PhD but didn’t find work, poor guy, and so went to work in a taxi (or so he will tell you of course). He may say that he used to be a company director in Dubai, but all he really knows is how to count pennies. Even looking at his face you won’t find any answers, this guy’s an enigma. Anyway, just tell him you need to arrive quickly and hope to God he’s not an author of a book nobody has heard of.
The badboy taxi:
Now we’ve come to the main man himself. The driver of this taxi does Karate, Taekwondo, Judo, pumps iron and plays chess. You can pick him out by his razor blade-scarred face and being the sort of guy who looks happiest when using his fists. Among his hobbies: handbrake turns and leaning-out-the-window driving, the sort that really draws attention (especially in a wedding procession). Important advice: try to not get in his taxi, and if you do, God forbid, then pretend to be an idiot. If he starts effing and blinding don’t try and put up resistance, just say: “ok sir”. But if he ups the swearing, then join in and start cursing yourself with all your God-given strength. Swear words hurt less than that fist.