Posts Tagged ‘Mu’tah’

Shopping in Mu’tah

I’ve been enlisted to the duty of buying supplies for the crew in the nearest town to our base of operations. Right now, we are all living on the banks of a resevoir in Wadi Al Hasa, near a small bedouin village. The nearest town, Mu’tah, is around 45 minutes away on a long winding sharp incline. There was one small problem with this setup, both of the crew’s vehicles are vans which have manual transmissions. I did not know how to drive stick. So, I had my first stick driving lesson climbing up hundreds and hundreds of meters in a van which had seen better days, sometime long ago. Thankfully there was no fiery crash, and stalling in the middle of an intersection doesn’t really cause much of a fuss in Mu’tah.

Mu'tah from the Van (Credit: Danielle Raad)

The Cop Box in Mu'tah's center (Credit: Danielle Raad)

Aside from that, this duty is a really good way to get to know the culture here. Nearly all the owners of shops I frequent now recognize and shoot the breeze with me. During my last trip to get some clean water for our our base, I sat down with the owner’s son and some of his friends, talked. Jordanians tend to operate on the assumption that everyone smokes, so after declining the offer to smoke cigarettes once, I caved and joined in with them once I was offered a second time. That was my first smoke. I’ve been considering bringing a pack with me wherever I go, since offering them to people I meet might make up for the fact that I only know a few Arabic words.

I get a kilo of Labneh (strained yogurt which is pretty sour) and about 50 eggs at the dairy place every time I visit Mu’tah. And every time, the dairy guy offers me and whoever goes with me a cup, and another cup of a sour, salty yogurt drink which I think is called shenina.

The guys I buy Vegetables and fruits from give me some updates on how the US is doing in the world cup and give me some tips on pronouncing arabic words. The guy who always takes orders has a BA in psychology, and speaks pretty decent english.

My Veggie Stop (Credit: Danielle Raad)

During our my last trip, Me and a couple of the crew gave a ride to an old guy named jebbel who walked up to the window of the van and started talking to us. Its at times like this when you get to know the culture of the place really well. He declined to sit in the spacious back seat because one of the girls was seated there and he didn’t want anyone in the town to think that he was, as he put it, “ehhhhh, you know” with her. So, he crammed into the front with two of us.

Me, Jan, and Jebbel

On that note, a lot of the girls who have gone to Mu’tah have been proposed to on several occassions. In other instances, taxi drivers and strangers have offered camels and other goods to the guys they are with for the girl’s hand in marriage. Most of these are sort of tongue in cheek. I forget who this happened to, but one was offered a thousand camels by a cheeky taxi driver.

So far, i’ve only made this run twice. So, I’m expecting that I’ll be getting a lot more familiar with all the shops in Mu’tah by the time August rolls around.

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