‘Where the hell am I?’ Panic kicks in as soon as the bus from As-Salt drops me off at this unfamiliar place. I have asked for the North Bus Station but they tell me to get off here. “Tababour? (North Bus Station?)” I ask again helplessly but they point to the left and drive off. Presumably the bus station is towards the left, but I didn’t want to risk crossing the wide road and try to reach there on foot. How do I know how far I would end up walking?
I get a taxi and ask for Tababour, and it turns out it’s only 3 minutes away from where I was originally dropped. So I show the driver a piece of paper with my hostel details, including it’s address in Arabic and a map. The hostel is near the Roman Amphitheatre which is one of the major tourist attractions in Amman, but surprisingly he isn’t the first driver who gives a puzzled look at the hostel’s whereabouts. After examining the map for sometime, he gets out his mobile phone and calls the hostel for directions.
On my journey back to hostel in the taxi I ask him how much the fare would be, with the knowledge that it should be around 3JD or below. “5 JD”, he says, and as I protest, he talks in Arabic and points to his phone. I insist on 3 JD but he’s adamant, and continues to point to his phone. I think he’s trying to charge me for the phone call he made earlier. “5 JD FOR A PHONE CALL!! I’m not paying that much! Drop me here and I’ll get another cab!” I quickly flare up and raise my voice. Apparently the fiery temper of Jordanians has already rubbed off on me. I’ve just surprised myself at this burst of uncharacteristic temper, but it is liberating to give an immediate external response to my feelings rather than suppressing it in my usual way.
The driver drives on, as if he hasn’t heard my shouts at all. It confuses me a little and makes me wonder if I had misunderstood him in any way. And I feel a little silly for getting fired up. When we reach the hostel, the meter on the taxi says the journey costs 4 JD. I hand him over a 5 JD note and hold out my palm for a change, but he pulls a ‘baby face’ with his lips pouting and holds up his index finger – ‘It’s only 1JD. Please let me keep it’, he seems to say. It is as if a child is pleading for one more piece of candy, and I get out of the taxi 1 JD poorer but laughing heartily.
DAY 4: 21 September 2013, On the way back from As-Salt