One part of acclimatising to life in Jordan has been getting used all the new sounds that we hear every day on our street. We’ve lived in built up areas before, so traffic sounds are familiar, as are voices, but the streets of Amman have some unique sounds of their own…
7:45am – The National Anthem
Each morning, just before we leave for school, we hear the children at our local primary school singing the Jordanian National Anthem, accompanied by a backing tape. It sounds a little something like this:
The Call to Prayer
This is one of the most familiar sounds to anyone who’s lived or travelled in the Middle East. We hear the call to pray at our local mosque 5 times a day (starting at 5am and finishing at 6:30pm).
The Gas Man
Most people in our neighbourhood heat their homes and run their cookers on gas. It isn’t piped into homes like in the UK, but is delivered in canisters on the back of lorries or by men who use small trollies. As they’re walking down the street, they tap the side of their trolly with the spanner that they use to connect the gas.
Lunch Time: Fruit and Veg
It’s common for families here to eat lunch together, so just as Mums are preparing lunch for their families, the fruit and veg van comes around. It sounds like this…
The first time we heard it we weren’t sure what to think! Was there some kind of protest happening outside?
The Candy Floss Man
There’s a guy who sells candy floss (cotton candy) and other sweets who walks up and down the street blowing a strange sounding whistle. It took me weeks to figure out what this particular sound was.
Tyre Screeches without collisions
Driving in Jordan is of a totally different variety to that of the UK. It’s a far more fluid, high-speed activity. Every available gap is filled by a car and lane changing and U-turning are the norm.
It’s common to hear the screech of tyres as a driver spots an impending collision. The most amazing thing for my ears is that these sudden squeals are usually followed by silence, not the sound of a crash.
There are certainly other new sounds that I haven’t mentioned here, but those are the most notable.