Fridays in Downtown

It’s quite hard to get up early on your only day off, but when you do it’s more often than not worth it. However last Friday, as much as I wanted to sleep in, the offer to have a family get together at Downtown Amman was way too tempting to turn down.

So, after a typically good breakfast at a typically busy Hashem’s, we went for a short stroll around the block. In fact I haven’t done that in so long that I almost forgot how refreshing it could be, and it was even more interesting since it’s the first time since I was a kid that I go there with my mother, who was pointing out places and reminiscing about the old days, like the public library that was the equivalent of Google in those days.

Among the see of faces and the myriad of shops and street vendors, there was this guy…

He had a stand where he sold magic tricks kits and props. He was putting up a show to a small crowd that gathered around him. It was quite impressive how he made things disappear and reappear using his tools and a few hand gestures. Yet, what I found more impressive was how keen he was trying to sell his merchandise, and he did it quite elegantly actually. So I couldn’t help but think: this is a man who’s trying to make a living here. He’s putting himself out there trying to stand out among dozens of other vendors because he has to. It’s his livelihood. I mean, you go to the office, do some paper work, close some deals and at the end of the month you get a salary or a bonus or whatever. This man however comes to this street in the morning knowing just that he has to use his best marketing skills that he probably learned on the same streets and hope to God they will pay off. Whatever it takes, and it’s honorable work, for you know some people choose to take an easier path, like begging for money at traffic lights.

So this made me think, why don’t we go there more often? I mean, not only to have a change of air and get away from the more modern and convenient part of the city or just to buy some pirated DVDs. I mean, the more people go there the more money they spend to support those “small businesses” so to speak. Besides, it’s quite a nice trip, unless you’re too fuffy for that. Actually there was a suggestion to try and be some sort of early birds on Fridays and turn them into “Downtown Fridays”. After all Friday is family day, might as well do something fun.

Oh, I also found this quite interesting. I would love to know how old that is, must have seen a lot…

4 responses

  1. That cup of tea looks soooooooooo tasty. I can smell the mint aroma from the picture. So beautiful!
    I have respect for those street vendors. It is not an easy job at all. No yearly paid vacation, no paid sick leaves, no health insurance, no paid holiday weekends …
    I hope more people feel the same way when you described this vendor’s way of living. I think they need our money more than those big mega markets.

  2. The tea was delicious, there’s something about mint tea downtown, it’s the best. When a friend of mine saw the picture she asked: “how do you know the glass is clean?” I was like, “You don’t, who cares anyway”

    You know this particular street vendor, and perhaps this is true of all other street vendors there, they have a certain air of dignity about them… you can’t but respect them

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