So far… So weird

Hello everyone back home and Professor Matthews’s students,

I was expecting to post my first blog in October for you but so much has happened within the first week of living in Jordan that I had to post a blog before all the juicy details escaped my memory.

Okay… a little bit about how all of this is set up: I am studying abroad through a program called International Studies Abroad (ISA) in Amman, Jordan at Al-Ahliyyah University and it is a private school. There are 12 students total, eight females and 4 males from all over the states, though the majority of us are from California. The female students live in two different apartment buildings in the district of Shmeisani. The male students live across town because we are not allowed to have the opposite sex in our apartment; they clearly made sure of that. Our apartments are quite unique. The first group of girls (Cassie, Sara, Anastasia, and Milo) have an apartment with three living rooms and two bathrooms and feels as if it were an actual house. My roommates, Caitlin, Alana, and Kate, and I have an apartment with lime green walls, two outlets, four clocks (none of which are operating) and one bathroom. The luxury in Jordan varies from building to building, but we still love our little shack.  Finally, after we settled in we got to experience all the people and life Amman has to offer.

My friends and I drinking tea

The first thing discussed upon arriving was the issue of safety and our well-being and how to be comfortable as well as approachable in this country. The program recommended that we dress a little bit more conservatively and be careful when choosing public transportation. The clothing was not an issue but the transportation system is quite intriguing.

There are multiple forms of transportation including buses, service cars and a plethora of taxis. I won’t get into too much detail about how each works but the main source of transportation for foreigners and students is the taxi. Before I dive into my little experience with a taxi, here are a few tips for anyone who is considering travel to the MENA region:

1.       Make sure the meter is on! At least in Jordan it must always be set at 25 qirsh (about $0.35). This is key because if you do not they will rip you off. It usually doesn’t take more than 2 Jordanian Dinars- or JDs- to get around in all of Amman (about $2.85).
2.      Secondly, if you do not speak a word of Arabic at least master the places you need to go in a decent Arab accent. Know the words ‘no’, ‘stop,’ and that’s it and you should be able to survive or they will assume you know very little and take you where they want or again, rip you off.
3.      Be very cold. Act busy and do not smile, giggle, or engage in conversation. Many taxi cab drivers will assume this is an invitation to harass you.

Our first cab ride in Jordan was not too bad because our program director negotiated our fare and the cab driver was kind and funny. He was curious about homosexuality in America and the concept of Lesbianism. That experience wasn’t too bad and because he was so friendly we assumed it was okay to be friendly with every cab driver.

However, this is not the case. One day, my roommates and I wanted to walk around and explore the shops nearby in the Shmeisani area because we did not want to have to rely on a taxi to get around town. Unfortunately, the day we scheduled our expedition was on a Friday which is prayer day in Jordan and thus many shops were closed or expected to open later on in the evening. We finally came to a unanimous decision to call a taxi and declare that mission an epic fail.  The taxi driver was quite friendly at first and we were all friendly in return and engaged him in conversation. Unfortunately, that is when he took us to the first of many destinations that were not originally what we had asked.

A view of one of the areas where our taxi driver took us.

He knew we were hungry and took us to Jabal Al-Hussein, which has the best food and is the cheapest in town. At this point we were hungry and delirious and weren’t very clear of his intentions so we proceeded to jokingly let him know that he is our new best friend. Unfortunately, this sends a message to taxi drivers that it is okay to ask for your number in hope of seeing you in the future.   We politely declined the offer to be taken out and did not give him our numbers. We asked to return  to our original destination because we had an urgent meeting at 3pm with people from the program. We  headed back towards  Rainbow St, the original direction we wanted to go in. We realized in the future to be more firm and less friendly.  The silver lining in all of this however, was that we got to go outside of Amman, discover a great street vendor, it was a free ride, and we learned a major lesson. Following all of this we discussed with our program director the public transportation etiquette.

Me with our overly friendly taxi driver

Our program director, U.S. Foreign Policy professor, and her husband, the Lieutenant of the Police Force in Amman, let us all know that:

1.      His actions are extremely frowned upon in Jordanian society and that many, but not all, taxi drivers are fairly respectful.
2.      Jordan is a frowning nation; a smile or giggle can be perceived as an invitation to take things a step further.
3.      Never smile or you will be harassed. Remain firm and cold with taxi drivers, shop owners and at night if you are out alone or even with friends.

Till next time…

Salam Mustafa

46 thoughts

  1. That sounds like quite the adventure you had with your taxi driver. I have found in all of my travels, and it appears to stand true in Jordan as well, that all taxi drivers will take you the longest route possible before they take you to where you want. It seems like you and your roommates got the raw end of the deal when it comes to your apartment. However, if you and your roommates all get along then that is more important than swanky living arrangements. Hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in Jordan.

    Daniel Nagel

  2. What a great post! Thanks, I enjoyed it very much. I was wondering if the ‘no smile’ rule only applies to girls. Did the guys on your trip have a similar experience perhaps with women cab drivers or in other interactions (if women don’t drive cabs)? Do the men on your trip have to be as cold? Also, can you smile in your interactions with women or is that also a bad idea?
    For further posts, I am curious what the night life is like? Do people your age have a hub or a popular place to hang out (maybe a movie theater)? Or are the night freedoms restricted or too dangerous? Sorry for all of the questions, I am just really interested and wish I was there!

    Suzanne Schmidt

  3. Salam. what an interesting, and probably unnerving first week in Amman. I have found in other countries that taxi drivers can be very good and helpful or try to take advantage. I would like to know about the food in Jordan and what the local people think of America. All the best in your travels and I’ll look forward to your posts.

    Pam Ives

  4. Great to hear that there are many other students from California, it’s nice to room with people back home. What you mentioned about the taxi driver and the harassment is quite interesting, but he seems friendly. The picture of your view is awesome! I’m a traveler and I haven’t traveled to this part of the world yet; I guess Jordan is my next stop. And I’m curious as to what the food tastes like? Good luck during school and be safe!

    Derek Mateo

  5. @ Daniel: Yea we did! One day I’ll probably post picks of all the aprtments to a blog.
    @ Suzanne:I have yet to see any female cab drivers, I don’t believe that it would be acceptable for a woman to choose this sort of career because it may pose a risk for her.It is okay to smile to members of the same sex and for the most part some men are always smilling and others are not. It is very rare to see a female smiling if she is alone usually if you are with a group of friends and talking, it is normal. I will definitely have a blog covering culture, college, and night life out here in Amman. Trust me there is an abundance of it, it is as if the people never sleep.

  6. Sounds like you are already experiencing the new “lifestyle.” That’s great. I had a hard time getting a reliable taxi driver when I was in Philadelphia… I couldn’t even imagine what it is like there! At least you understand the language, so that is a big help. Do many of the other students in your group speak it as well? Or are they relying on your expertise.

    I’m curious as to what the weather is like? By the pictures it looks comfortable and sunny, but is it much different that here in California? Have a good time and I look forward to your next post.

    -Brandon Ross

  7. Hi Salam,
    It sounds like you are having fun and experiencing another culture. It most definitely sounds like an adventure. Why do you think “Jordan is a frowning state”? Is remaining firm and cold just something foreigners do, for safety reasons? How do they perceive Americans? How are your classes? I apologize for the all the questions, but I just want to know more.

    Be safe and have lots of fun,
    Kayley Garcia

    Thanks for the pictures:)

  8. Salam, its Carla! ahaha :)

    WOW ok so firstly, i’m sure you are SUPER excited to be there, i know you’ve been waiting for this experience, and from what i read it seems like its one heck of a start! :)
    I totally understand the whole situation with the taxi drivers, but i admit it is a bit more extreme from what i’ve been surrounded with in Lebanon…
    So when do you get to see the guys if you all are separated? i would assume it would be safer to have them with you once you attempt to tour around next time, right? lol.
    and btw, how did you and the friendly taxi driver start talking about homosexuality? did he randomly just bring it up? haha

    i am waiting for you next blog, stoked to hear of your next adventure!! :)



  9. I have never really been outside of the United States before and know little of other cultures. This adventure you had is definitely an eye opener on the Jordanian culture. I look forward to learning more about your adventures in Jordan!

    -Lauren Toombs

  10. Hey Salam,
    Glad you are enjoying your trip so far, and thank you for sharing! I was wondering what the University is like compared to CSUSM? Such as the size, the classrooms, the students, and the professors?
    Also what do the Taxis actually look like over there? Are they just a regular car? Are they yellow, or some other color? Do they only come in one size or do they have bus ones for more people, like we have here in the states!?
    What is the weather like there during this time of year?
    Lastly what are your plans for Halloween while you are there, because I’m sure it will be nothing like what people out here will be doing!? Is that something that is even celebrated out there, and if not will you and your friends still be celebrating in your own way!!!? Can’t wait for the next blog!

    Savannah Reeve

  11. Salam,

    Allow me to preface all of my comments by commending you on your bravery and sense of adventure!
    I know so little about Jordan; I cannot even imagine plopping myself in a foreign country where the culture is so different. The bit about Jordan being a ‘frowning state’ is very interesting and a bit concerning. What would you say the overall attitude and happiness level is where you are? Do people seem like they are generally positive, or are their dispositions reflective of this ‘frowning’ culture? It just goes to show how vast and different the world is: in one place it’s customary and preferable to smile, while in another place it’s frowned upon. I cannot imagine living in a place where a smile could mean something like that. Like someone mentioned before, it’s tough enough dealing with taxi drivers here in the states. I know you’re going to receive tons of comments, so don’t feel obligated to respond mine; if I was in a foreign country I wouldn’t want to feel bogged down by blog responses.

    Stay very safe,
    Tim Stong

  12. Hey Salam,
    Sounds like you’re going through a learning process on how to not be so polite. I actually have been to Dubai and Bahrain and both of those places were really different from America. I remember that when friends and I were walking through the streets you heard the call to prayer over intercoms and then all the native people would scatter and shut their shops. Well I guess my question is are there be dais or toilets where you’re at?

    Take care and be safe,
    Tim Rosier

  13. Glad to hear you are already enjoying your time in Jordan.
    It’s good to know that their taxi drivers are just as rude as ours are; taking you on the longest route possible so they can grab your money. Personally, I would not be able to keep a straight face in the taxi. Enjoy your studies. And I’ll be looking forward to your next post.

    Be safe and have fun.
    Danielle Arduino

  14. Hey I forgot to ask… what is the night life like in Jordan? Are there a lot of clubs and bars to go to at night or is it too risky to be out that late?

    Daniel Nagel

  15. Salam,

    It sounds like quite the interesting experience that you are having over there. Have you seen any of the influence of the recent uprisings from surrounding countries yet? Is the night life much of one or is it too dangerous for you and the girls to go out? Stay safe and have lots of fun!!!


  16. Thank you all so much for the great questions and comments! Just to clarify about the “frowning” nation label. To frown on the streets is common because people are approached based on their body language, if you smile you are inviting someone to speak to you or it means you are serious about getting to know them better. The people here are not unhappy but assert themselves and send messages based off of body language. I will cover food, night life, college, student body, and shooping further into the semester when I get to interact with more students in the university since we have had it to ourselves for 2 weeks. School here starts Oct 2 and other places Oct 9th and they are off Dec 22! I will have a nother blog up about some excursions later on this week, looking forward to your comments! <3

  17. Hello Salam,

    I, as I am sure all others who have read your blog, are happy to hear you safely made it Jordan and are already having experiences that you will never forget! It is extremely commendable that you have chosen to go to Jordan with a genuine interest in learning and experiencing the culture..

    As for your taxi ride, that is something that many of us in the States could not even imagine!! Taxi rides can be nerve racking in general but in a foreign country I imagine that is totally amplified. It seems though it ended well for you all and you did get to see some of the sites!

    I am curious how the classes and schools are going? Are the teachers friendly towards you? Are their other foreign exchange students in your classes? Does it seem there are a lot of tourists in the part of Jordan you were in? So many questions from all of us following your blog!

    Hope you are enjoying yourself and safe travels!

    Michelle Svoboda

  18. That sounds like one crazy adventure. I am curious on why you would choose such a potentially dangerous place to study abroad? Most students choose France, London, Italy, etc. What made you decide on Jordan?
    I actually had an experience one time in New Jersey. My friends and I decided that we wanted to go to New York and we did not have any help from anyone or advise on where to stay and where not to stay. So we thought staying in Jersey would be fine, Newark of all places. We soon found out, like you, that Newark is not the most affluent neighborhoods. We walked to a little restaurant and the waiter strictly told us that we should NOT walk back to our hotel and instead take a taxi back. It was about a mile and a half walk so we thought it would not be that expensive. As we waited we were getting looks from all kinds of people and we soon found out that we were very lucky to have not been hurt or something worst on our way to the restaurant. When the cab driver pulled up, we were a little taken back from his/her appearance. We were not sure on the sex of our driver but that was the least of our worries. So as he/she started driving they took some suspicious turns and when we tried to correct them, they informed us that they were taking a shortcut and that we were fine. Well that immediately struck my nerves and I got very scared. This driver then decides to call his/her mom and ask for directions in Spanish. Well one of my friends luckily spoke a little Spanish and learned that our driver was lost and was asking their mom for directions. Very scary. Well in the end we got back to our hotel and were safe but I know the feeling of being in a different place and not knowing the proper etiquette in dealing with that type of situations and places.
    Well best of luck and I am excited in learning about more of your adventures.
    Nicola Marshall

  19. @ Nicola: Wow, glad you understood where I was coming from. Public transportation is always sketcy when you are a foreigner. Jordan is not actually dangerous, probably a bit safer than most other Arab nations, there are no uprisings just mostly peaceful protests here. Honest;y, the media portrays something different, being here has definitely opened my eyes quite a bit. Jordanians are more hospitable and welcoming than any place I have ever been.

    @ Michelle: The semester here just started for the University so I am going to wait a little till Ifamilirize myself with the student body and campus to post a blog.

  20. That’s so cool that you’re going with ISA! I used ISA over summer when I studied abroad in Italy. It’s a very good program. I thought it was very interesting that the first thing one of the taxi drivers asked about was homesexuality in America. What was he asking about, the laws or just if everyone dresses like Lady Gaga? I do have one question though, why did you take a picture with the cab driver if you were told not to really interact with them? Was this before you were warned?
    -Stephanie Warshaw

  21. Hi Salam!
    What an interesting first week you had! I am so intrigued with the details you have given us all…what a great opportunity! Personally I have not traveled out of the United States so it is very interesting to hear the day/night break downs you provide! How long will you be staying there? What is the food like there…do they have options there like we have here? Also, you mentioned they recommended a conservative dress….what is considered conservative there? Ie: would tank tops be frowned upon? Sounds like you have an exciting time planned there…cant wait to hear more!

  22. Hello Salam!! :)

    When you came to class I was very interested in studying abroad and by your first few weeks of your trip, I think that I might just do it. The part the interested me the most is when you said be very cold. I would assume that being very stern would mean that you mean business and you don’t want people to talk to you. I know you don’t speak Arabic, but will you learn it over the course of the time you will be there? I applaud you for going over into a country that has that language because it might be hard to learn, but more power to you!! How is the dress attire there? Do people know you are American and if so, does there reaction or expressions change? Im excited to see your other posts! Best wishes until next time.

  23. @ Stephanie: all of this was prior to our warning of public transportation. The cab driver insisted he take a photo with us, we know it was just an excuse to get near us. As far as the homosexuality goes, we were discussing a male singer in the Middle East and I said he looked very feminim and the cab driver said so, gay? Then he wanted to know if it was widely accepted in the states, that most men here are on the down low, and that he is okay with it.

    @ Codi: I will have a cultural blog that will address food and clothing…keep an eye out.

  24. Hi Salam,
    This is so interesting! In America that taxi situation is less likely to happen. We as Americans are so used to the system here that it is actually shocking in another country. I am so interested in world cultures! What did he think about the homosexuality here in America and the concept of Lesbianism?? How is it different there? How are your classes going so far?


  25. I have had similar experiences with being “too friendly” but mostly when walking around the souqs. I have never been to Jordan, but the culture shock sounds similar. I was with some friends who have had experience with some Arab cultures and generally knew what to do and how to behave, but did not care to share this information with me…and loved to watch me get sucked into this little shack of a shop. The shopkeeper practically forced me to sit down on some chair that appeared out of nowhere and while one guy rubbed lotion on my hands, another started dressing me in an assortment of the most absurd clothing – I ended up giving them money (way too much) for the ugliest scarf I have ever seen and ran out of there. I smelled like cinnamon and roses the rest of the day – my friends had a blast at my expense. If anything, I learned two things that day 1) being rude is absolutely fine 2) there is no such thing as personal space.
    As you spend more time there, I would be interested to know what Jordanians consider as basic necessities and luxury items. In my expereince, the definitions differ widely from country to country. For instance, do restaurants function as a primary source of meals or are they an occasional option? You had said that housing varies signifcantly in luxury – is a home used primarily for sleeping or do they also entertain and cook there?

  26. It seems that you’re having a good time in Jordan. How long is your ISA program? Also, electricity seems to be very cheap which is very good. But have you guys experienced any power outages? Thanks.

  27. Salam, it sounds like you have had a really crazy experience regarding the taxi. When you mentioned that if traveling there, you should be “cold”, it really interested me. I have traveled a lot, outside and inside the United States, and it seemed to me that I have had very different experiences from you! Everytime I have had traveled, everyone would be very nice and hospitable, and it really was crazy how everyone seemed to know right off the bat that we were Americans (before even talking to us!). And because of this, they would talk to us, wanting to know how different it is here in America than it is in Europe. Now I know I haven’t been to the Middle East, and so I’m sure it is really different from Europe, but it makes me wonder, would you suggest that we be “cold” in every section in the Middle East or would it vary depending on where you travel? It would be interesting to know, because I would love to be able to travel to Egypt, Israel, and other great places like those one day.

    Aimee Fischer

  28. Hi Salam, I can see from your pictures that you’re having a good time in Jordan despite the taxi drivers issue. Smiling too much will definitely give an “inviting” signal to taxi drivers and some males in amman, because girls are not easy or friendly there and when males see that a girl is actually smiling to them they will think she’s interested and it’s okay to ask for her number or approach her.
    But there is “Al-Mumayaz Taxi Service” and these are taxis owned by a private company, usually silver in color, AC/ Heater available all the time, they are monitored and highly secure. You just need to call 06-5799-999 and they will send u a driver anytime 24/7. It’s only a dinar or two more, o fcourse depending on how far your trip is. They have Toyotas and Mercedes cars, the Toyotas are cheaper :)

    Farah Rassas

  29. @aaron: Your story made me laugh a bit. Thanks for that! Those are some great questions and I can answer them now but I will save them for a blog!
    @Emeka: So far…so good…no power outages just yet.

  30. Sounds like you’re having an interesting time, and the trip has just begun! I enjoyed your flirtatious cab driver incident. I visited Croatia over the summer and on the way to a soccer game we crossed the border with 6 people in the car, which is totally illegal. It’s fascinating to experience the mindsets of people in different cultures, like the concept of smiling. When I went out in Europe, and smiled at guys, they perceived it as a sign to get physical, but I made it clear it was not haha. I’m looking forward to your upcoming blog because education definitely varies across the world. I know my cousins in Germany take 13 classes at once, while we take 5. I’m also curious where your future excursions will take you! Seems like the best memories come from the most random adventures.
    Enjoy yourself,
    Zora Lasic

  31. Hello Salam, it sounds like you are having a great experience. I wish I could live what you are experiencing right now. That taxi adventure you had must had been quite the experience:)What is the most interesting thing you have found out about Jordan that you thought differently about before going there? What do you look forward to learning more about Jordan while residing there? How is the food and type of living there in Jordan? Hope everything is going well and I will definitely look forward for your future blogs. Be safe… :)

    Julio Cantera

  32. Wow! Just your first week there really shows the contrast in cultures. The fact that the taxi driver was asking you about homosexuality and lesbians is really quite interesting. In fact, it would probably blow most minds of Americans that these lifestyles are banned in other countries.

    The thing I really want to know is why Jordan is a frowning nation? I can understand why you should be firm with taxi drivers, as you don’t want to seem too friendly and therefore be harassed, but the idea that an entire nation is “frowning” seems quite out of the ordinary. Was there a specific event that caused the country to be a frowning nation, or is just part of the culture of Jordan? If this is the case it would be interesting to see how manners take place in Jordan. Moreover, do “sir” and “ma’am” take place in an ordinary conversation? Figuring out why Jordan is like this would be quite astonishing to me.

    Thank you very much and keep us updated!

    -Kenneth LaLonde

  33. It sounds like you are already having an amazing time! I wish that I could travel abroad and experience another lifestyle then the one I’m experiencing now. I still cant believe the taxi driver would do that, and ask you such personal questions. I think if anyone over here was asked that they would pretty much flip out. I have never traveled out of the country so this will be very interesting, I actually know of someone who is traveling abroad in Italy, but the Middle East is a whole new experience.

    How is everyone treating you over there? Do they treat you different because you are American?

    Hope the trip is a good and successful trip, cant wait till your next blog!! :)

  34. hi salam, i have a question about the views of the people from Amman are they as open to different kinds of social views or a set/particular view. im interested when you were discussing about the taxi driver asking about lesbianism and homosexuality, the driver sounded like he was very interested and kinda open about the topic. Did he accept the views of homosexuality or was he agianst it, and what are the views of the general society in Amman?

  35. Hey Salam!
    I hope all is well :) I just wanted to make a comment about the taxi drivers that I forgot to before. It’s probably a pretty tough job with long days, so maybe they are just trying to have some fun with their day? Of course, you need to make sure you are safe, but try to remember to have fun right back with them (if you cannot ignore them) and maybe that will help?

  36. Wow i never thought that taxi Drivers could be like that…be careful men can be dangerous! Have fun and keep us in touch.

  37. Hi Salam
    Your post was great I really enjoyed reading it! I had a similar experience in Mexico when dealiv with taxi drivers. I also ran into ones that were overly friendly in the beginning and found myself cheated or the wrong place later! But anywyas I was wondering if you thought eye contact and giggles were unacceptable body language in most countries I would argue America probably one of the exceptions! Also about the taxi drivers supposed behavior is that because of cultural norms or social class noms

  38. wow i had no idea that a gesture so common in america as a smile can be construed into something so much more in other places. this really exemplifies the difference in culture of the region as a whole. Im astonished.

  39. Wow Salam, what an adventure so far. This was a great read. I’m sorry about your small room, but it seems like you’re having a great time exploring Amman, shopping, sight seeing, and taking taxi trips. You’re story reminds me of my taxi adventures in Iran. The driver told me I did not need to wear my seat belt as he was driving 85 through traffic with no emotion showing on his face. It’s crazy experiencing a completely different society where a smile could leave the wrong impression. having to stay straightforward always would feel like a big restriction on your social experience. But I’m sure there is social events you will go to in the future, and see how different the teenagers act in Jordan compared to the States. I’m glad you’re enjoying your visit so far, and cant wait for the next post.

  40. That must be a crazy experience going from the houses in the states to there. Only having to outlets when every one always has so much technology that is always needing to be charged. It really makes you appreciate home I’m sure. Also that mush be weird going to a school with such a small amount of students when we have so many at cal state. It must be a little scary taking cabs anywhere when you don’t know the language to well it seems like you already had an interesting experience with that.

  41. Hi Salam
    I guess I’m a little late. I read this blog earlier and thought I commented, but I don’t see it now so here’s another one :)
    When you talked to the first taxi driver about homosexuality in America and the concept of lesbianism – did you ask him in return about those concepts in Jordan? I’m curious to know what kinds of social attitudes they have about the topic. Did he seem surprised by what you told him about America?
    -Joelle Mestemacher

  42. Hi Salam,

    What is it like to have so few classmates over in Jordan as opposed to the dozens you have here in each class? Public transportation is always a little sketchy, especially if you’re in a different place than you’re used to. I’ve personally never used public transportation by myself, but I can imagine it can be quite scary. It’s so interesting how little things such as smiling or giggling are misinterpreted and are an invitation to take things further. As you mentioned, most taxi drivers are respectful, but those who aren’t, what are things they do other than try to see you in the future? A bit off topic, but do you happen to know if disrespectful taxi drivers have ever added to any type of crime rates in Jordan?

    Judy Chan

  43. Salam,

    First off (gotta get this off of my chest) how are you surviving the lime green walls? Have you gone crazy yet? That’s a pretty intense color for a room.

    Second, I can’t imagine being in a country that feels this why about smiling and laughing. I would not fit in. Are taxis the most popular form of transportation? Being from San Diego, I have only been in a cab once or twice, so I tend to think of it as a luxury mode after public transit has been exhausted. I’m not sure if I would want to take taxis considering the different ways you may be taken advantage of or harassed. Eek! Remember to be cold.

    Thanks for your post.


  44. It’s interesting to see how the transportation system works in other countries. Is the unfriendly behvavior only restricted to women or men as well? Are there women taxi drivers, and if so, do they also expect people to be undfriendly? It’s funny to think that acting friendly is an invitation for something more. What I found even more funny is that the taxi driver acted on it.

    I can definitely see how they would take advantage of tourists if they appear to be having a good time. Thank you for the tips, i’m sure the same applies to most other countries. I am from Mexico and I know that you have to keep a close eye on the meters.

    -Mireya TInoco

  45. Hey Salem!
    I found that there are a total of only 12 students total, very interesting.

    This post about the taxi driver made me laugh. I can’t believe he asked for your number! I also can’t believe they try to rip you off with the money, though. It’s interesting how you said to “be very cold.” But, I understand why! I definitely would not want to be harassed.

    But, anyways, I hope you’re having fun and are safe! I hope you don’t get harassed if you get into a taxi, again.

  46. It is incredible to see first hand the cultural differences. We sometimes here about the cultural barriers presented by other nations but it is really interesting to hear about them first hand. For here it is considered polite to interact with workers but there it is an invitation, I find that really interesting. I also thought that it was really fascinating that your professors husband, the director of the police there, informed you of the rigid attitude you should uphold with others there. Those three tips he gave you seem so different from the way we approach things but seem applicable given the stories you presented. I really enjoyed hearing bout your first hand encounters and looks forward to hearing more!!

    -Shane Desfor

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