Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sounds of Jordan

During all hours of the day men go around the streets selling things. It is so primitive yet so interesting. You can find everything being sold; used furniture, cooked corn, fruit, etc. But there are 2 things in particular that I find the most interesting, and they come with their own sounds.

For some reason, I have no idea why because it is not really a big part of the Jordanian cuisine, but cotton candy is sold on the streets EVERYWHERE! It is funny because you can always find a man walking around with bags of pink cotton candy yelling out SHAAR EL BANAT (which is translated into hair of girls) with a special whistle. At first it was really annoying being woken up at 6 in the morning by a man screaming and blowing into a whistle, but when you stop to think about it.. why cotton candy?? Y at 6 in the morning?? Do people really eat cotton candy that much?? it makes the whole thing amusing..

In America a common noise we come to recognize is the music of an ice cream truck. We have something similar in Jordan but it is not for ice cream but instead for gas. Gas is sold in tanks, exactly like the ones we use for barbeque grills in America but in Jordan we use these tanks for everything. They run our stoves, our heaters, they even run the hot water tanks sometimes. . Because they are so commonly used, a truck drives around all the streets (again similar to an ice cream truck in America) and plays this catchy tune (which all started because people complained about the sound of the horn) so that you know you can bring out your empty tank and replace it with a full one. Instead of kids running out for a sweet treat, mothers are running out excited about cooking dinner for the night? It really is a sound that I will forever appreciate… (attempting to make it my next ringtone)


In Islam it is required that a person prays 5 times a day, this is something commonly practiced in Jordan. To call Muslims to prayer the country is overtaken by one of the most amazing, hypnotizing, mesmerizing sounds; the Adhan. Mosques can be found on almost every corner in Jordan and during the times of prayer they project a call so that people know that it is time. This sound is of a man speaking of the main beliefs in Islam to remind the believers and the non-believers. It is an enchanting sound that, even though I am not religious at all, always gets to me. It is a sound that brings me back to when I was a kid, first in Jordan, spending my summers in my Grandfather’s house and listening to this sound take over the country like a blanket. For those few minutes, no matter what my faith, I am connected to something…

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