Museums of Folklore and Popular Culture

There are two small museums on either side of the amphitheater in downtown Amman.

They are the Folklore Museum and the Museum of Popular Culture, and they are pretty cool. They are both quite small, so even if you aren't a museum person you can enjoy these and then go on to do something else.

These are pictures from inside the small museum--I think all of these came from the Museum of Popular Culture/Tradition.

This is the first thing you see when you walk in--traditional Jordanian army wear.

Check out those ankle bracelets! Let's hope you don't kick yourself...

Self-defense bracelets, maybe?

The largest plate for Mansaf that I have ever seen...


The University of Jordan

The University of Jordan was a crazy place. Crazy because it was different in every way from BYU or other American universities. First of all, everything closed down at 5pm and all the building were shut and locked. When do these people do their homework? Even the library closed pretty early. Thing is, most of the students live at home or at a home with family members (if their parents live too far away) and most of them don't have jobs (and their parents pay for their schooling).

This combination of factors led to a lot of this:

College students sitting around on benches or curbs at the university throughout the day. Sitting, talking to friends, watching other people walk by, especially members of the opposite sex (since you can't talk to them or sit with them, if you are following societal rules), and making foreigners like me feel uncomfortable with all the staring.

Plenty of benches are provided to sit and stare.

This is a picture of the front gate of the university. The university had 4 gates that I know of and you couldn't enter the university without going through the gates. They have guards that stand at the gates and check your id card when you walk through and don't let people without their student id into the university. That is, unless you are a foreigner--then you just have to say "Markaz al-Lugat" (which means "The Language Center") or mumble something in English (or Arabic) or be a woman and just avoid their gaze and they will let you in, no problem. I usually went with the final option.

The library. Kind of foreboding; I went in a couple of times and could never find anything, including a place to study. Apparently in their opinion the library is a place for books, not a place for students. There are a few tables scattered throughout but only certain people could study in certain sections in the library--or maybe they just didn't want us foreigners in there taking up space...

The clock tower at the center of the university. This was a common meeting place for people, and at any time of day (until 5, when the university closed) you could find at least a hundred people within a hundred yard radius of this thing. Just sitting and chatting. If you can imagine, I got many of my speaking hours talking to people sitting by this very clock.

I thought this looked weird for a long time. I asked a couple of people why they paint their trees white--one answer (the more logical one) was that the paint keeps bugs from climbing up and eating the trees. The other answer I got was that they did it so it would look pretty.

But I just thought it looked weird...
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