The other Philadelphia
A visit to Amman, capital of Jordan
AMMAN, JORDAN—The gateway to Jordan is through its capital, Amman, or rather, its sleek and spacious airport, with a modern terminal completed in 2013. The gleaming terminal, with its sleek anodized-steel Starbucks, might give you the false impression that you are in a Western country. You are not.
Take the freeway from that airport into the city and you might be in for a shock. A road with lanes, for a few miles at least, soon has no lanes to speak of, and then you’re driving a Hot Wheels car on a free stretch of track, hopeful that no one will bump into each other as each car weaves closer or further from the median. Take an exit and you’ll pass by the numerous gated government compounds on the way to the downtown. During the hot sun of the day, the streets are quiet, like an abandoned afternoon in a small Great Plains metro like Omaha or Des Moines—but at night, when the sun goes down—it’s total, absolute gridlock. Or, as the hotel desk attendant informed me—“At night, it’s a party.”
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