Apparently, there’s a skateboarding subculture here in Amman. We found this out yesterday evening while taking little Miriam on a stroll in Shmeisani. One of the secondary thoroughfares has a nicely landscaped median with covered seating areas and raised pavilions. In America, such a place would have signs all over the place prohibiting skateboarding, due to the tempting nature of all those stairs, ramps, and benches. Here, of course, there is no such sign.
There were about half a dozen young men gathered there, all skateboarding. At first, I thought that they must be expat American kids – we hear of young Arab men doing a lot of things, but skateboarding is not one of them. As we came closer, however, I realized that they all looked Jordanian. And although they were speaking to each other partly in English, it was accented and not quite fluent.
We sat on a nearby bench, joining other spectators – some of whom were hijab-wearing young women, which provided an interesting contrast to the scene – and watched for a while. Now, Jeremy is probably the better judge of talent considering that not a few of his teenage years were spent on a skateboard, but a few of these guys seemed pretty good to me. One of them was even wearing a hoodie.
(I wasn’t trying to make these pictures look so stylized – they’re angled this way because I was taking them covertly.)
After a while, we went and talked with them. It turns out that a few of them are Jordanian kids who used to live in America, or who live there but have returned to Jordan for the summer. They chatted with Jeremy about his skateboarding days and showed the appropriate reverence and awe when he described a few of the moves he used to be able to do. One of them asked, quite seriously, “So what happens after you stop skateboarding?” Jeremy assured them that life does, in fact, go on.