Power trips

You know, despite all you've heard, Jordan is actually a pretty permissive place. Of course, there are the lines you just don't cross, and everybody knows what they are, but in general life is very laid-back.

There are some situations, however, in which rules are strictly enforced. Here are some of the stranger restrictions we've had placed on us by employees and officials in various places.

- We were forbidden from taking pictures at the swimming pool and Amman Waves. But the reasoning for this rule is pretty good, so I won't knock it too much. I still think the principle of "people who are going to do it are going to find a way no matter what you say" applies, but at least they try.

- Also at the swimming pool: Jeremy got yelled at for wearing a t-shirt while standing in the kiddie pool with Miriam. He also was reprimanded for not wearing a proper swimsuit, until he proved to the employee that they were, in fact, swimming trunks. The irony is that if he had been wearing a Speedo, he probably would have been left alone.

- Yesterday at Carrefour, Jeremy tried to walk in carrying a milkshake from Gerard's. The security guards at the entrance said it wasn't allowed, and that he'd have to drink it outside. Well, a milkshake from Gerard's is not something you want to rush. So Jeremy stepped away for a few moments, tucked it inside the mesh cup holder of his backpack, and walked back in. (The moral of this story: don't try to deceive security guards. He forgot about the milkshake, and when he sat down in the taxi with the backpack, the milkshake spilled all over him.)

- In Damascus, Jeremy was forbidden from entering a library because (the guards said) he was wearing "pajamas." They were cargo pants, actually, but that distinction was lost on them.

- A security guard (what is it with these guys??) at the university once tried to tell me that I couldn't go on campus. I have no idea why, since I have a student ID card and everything. Once I told him that my husband was a "doktoor" (professor), though, he was all "ahalan wa sahalan."

Notice that none of these guys have ever placed any restrictions on Miriam. She can do no wrong. And I'm willing to take the flack for her as long as that can continue to be the case.

Edited to add: Actually, Jeremy just reminded me of one more, and it has to do with Miriam. At the Children's Museum yesterday (note to self: write a post about the Children's Museum), Miriam was playing in the fake grocery store, filling a cart with plastic food from the shelves. When she was done, she just left the cart in an out-of-the-way corner of the grocery store and wandered into the next room - a very cool fake car repair shop. But could you believe it - an employee followed her and Jeremy into the room and told them they had to put all the items in the cart away. Perhaps she forgot she was working at, you know, a Children's Museum.


Second first impressions