Sunday, August 07, 2005

Mecca Mall

Mecca Mall is yet another amazing example of life in Amman, my wife is here and wanted to visit Mecca Mall to "have a look at the shops". As usual, she picks the worst time to visit, 8:30pm on a weekday night.

We approached from Mecca Street, a fatal mistake in its own right with traffic queuing back onto the main road. Every single (yes, every couple of hundred) parking spaces were full. The photo below gives a rough idea of the style of parking.



One of the bloggers on Jordan Planet (www.JordanPlanet.net) noted that no word for selfish exists in the arabic language, this photo kind of sums that up, especially when 40+% of the cars are parked like this.

Anyway, another observation from the wonderous Mecca Mall is that no one buys anything!!!! Packed mall and less than 10% of people carrying bags with purchases - people go to walk, talk and drink coffee!

I heard a story from a friend here that the average life of a shop in Mecca Mall is 20 months, hardly surprising when 90% of the footfall invest in food and drink only.

Anyway, after several rounds of shouting f**king donkeys at the stupid driving and parking, we managed to get home in one piece.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Jordanian Mobile Phones

Its time again for my periodic rant on all things Jordanian, my pet subject today is all things mobile (phone that is), I'll start with the unique (in my opinion) culture of mobile phones in Amman.

Jordanians pride themselves on the latest, greatest, best mobile phones they can lay their hands on, what I want to know, is how the hell they can afford it, the phones are expensive by UK standards, even on contract deals, this must be a significant expense for most Jordanians? Even our office driver has a better mobile than me!

Also, why two mobile phones, a lot of people have two mobile phones usually obviously on display on the belt holsters. Is this a status system, do their phones feel lonely and need company, is it buy one get one free?

Most Jordanians are glued to the phones, while driving, smoking Sheesha, drinking coffee, while meeting with their friends, a truly obsessed nation.

As a statement of how popular mobiles are here, there are currently four providers, Mobile Com, Fast Link, X press and Umniah, all for a population of six million people!!! There are only (I think) eight providers in the UK with nearly 56 million people!!! I heard a rumour that a 3G network will also be starting up here in the near future, yet more choice for the Jordanian consumer.

End of rant.....glad I got that off my chest!