For many of us, living in a new country gives us an opportunity to try to learn the local language. For those of us living in Amman, if this is your first attempt at learning Arabic, or even if you’ve been studying it for years, one thing remains true: at some point you have to get out there and try speaking it. If you live in Abdoun, Sweifieh, or Deir Ghbar, or any other embassy-rich area of downtown, you might feel that everyone in Amman speaks English. But next weekend, hop in the car, or grab a cab -- which can also be a great chance to practice your Arabic -- and head on down to the Friday Market (Souq al Juma’a) off King Hussein Street (Google GPS: 31°57'35"N 35°55'3"E).
Here you’ll get a great chance to not only use your Arabic, but pick up some new vocabulary, grab some great deals on fruit, veg and second-hand clothes, and maybe even make some new friends.
The market is open on Thursdays and Fridays and has an open-air, flea-market type atmosphere. There are tons of clothes for sale, from brand new items, to “gently worn” items, to “well-loved” items. You can grab some sneakers, or stock up on baby clothes, or even snag a great deal on your next ball gown.
If not in the mood for clothing deals, then check out the kitchen ware, tools, light bulbs, watches, belts, perfume, toys, or dishes.
And if you find yourself feeling peckish during your explorations, stop and grab some “corn in a cup” from the street vendors – it’s as simple as it sounds and just as delicious!
It’s best to come with an open mind, small bills, and no agenda. On our first trip we just went to check it out, and came away with a new whisk, some shoe polish, tomatoes, cucumbers, apples and oranges; all stuff we didn’t know we needed until we saw it. And honestly, we would have grabbed more produce had it not been for a wiggly toddler and our lack of available hands. Next time we’re bringing bigger shopping bags, more small bills and multiple anti-wiggle devices.