Saturday, January 28, 2012

(Insert Sheep Joke Here)

So there we were, Carolyn and I, on Christmas Eve, sneaking out of the house to make a Starbucks run. It was just me and my sis-in-law, who was visiting from Jerusalem - the rest of the family was at the Royal Automobile Museum, and the two of us were supposed to be home wrapping presents. But we figured they'd never find out if we snuck out for an hour.

(Ummm, we figured wrong. Shoulda hidden the coffee cups.)

Along the way, we were comparing Jerusalem and Amman. I live in west Amman, which is actually pretty cosmopolitan - I mean, hey, we have a Starbucks, for goodness sake.

But, I pointed out as we walked, even in my fancy-ish neighborhood, we frequently see kids on donkeys, sheepherders with their flocks and guys on horseback.

Really, she asked? Sheep and donkeys, really?

Really, really, I told her.

We were halfway through a narrow dingy alley as I said this.

Suddenly, we heard the sound of bells directly ahead. At the other entrance of the alley, an entire flock of sheep was approaching. A big flockin' flock, along with several sheepherders, a few dogs and a donkey. Carolyn and I had to squash into a little gateway to avoid being - well, not trampled, exactly, because they were just sheep, after all - but there was definitely not room enough in the alley for all of us.

We couldn't stop laughing at the scene, put there in front of us just as we were in the middle of our livestock discussion. And of course, we both said, never in America. Never would you see such a thing downtown, one block from Starbucks, in a high-end section of a major metropolis.


tree hugger said... [Reply]

i definitely think this is one of the stranger/culturally shocking things about life in amman.

we also lived in a somewhat upscale neighbourhood close to the embassy. we had a fence in our garen and there was an empty lot beside our house (which is now apparently a low rise apartment building). my mother had a big honeysuckle growing up on the fence and it seemed like she was constantly going out and fighting to get the goats to stop eating her plants.

Walking to China said... [Reply]

As you know, they are in China, too! I can look out the window of my classroom and see flocks of goats and sheep being herded down the streets. I was in a bus a few months ago and saw a freshly cut donkey head on the back of a cart. No mysteries here about where meat comes from!
We do have four Starbucks on our cold NE city and for that, I am really thankful!

Nomads By Nature said... [Reply]

Love the pics - so good that you had a camera with you! Here in Moz there is no Starbucks or anything like it. But we do have goat traffic. Most mornings when dropping the kids off to school there is a shepherdess with her children and their goats walking through drop off traffic. Add all the foot traffic from the village, women with massive crates of bread balanced on their heads, traffic guides, and police with loaded AKs -- it is an interesting mix of movement. I do love to see the goats trotting through the morning commute, though. Always puts a smile on your face.

Shannon said... [Reply]

You know you are not in the US when when you see livestock coming down the alley at you.

I linked to your blog on cyberbones today. Of course if you want me to remove the link I will. Have a great day!

Sarah said... [Reply]

That's something I wouldn't find walking down an alley (or between houses) where I live!

I'm a tad bit jealous of your starbucks AND warm weather!!!

Thanks for checking out my blog!

Sarah on the Road

Connie said... [Reply]

I love the goats and sheep! I didn't grow up on a farm, but I lived with trees and plants and water and nature. I don't like living in a city. After Cairo, I reeeeeally needed a break city life. Amman is much calmer and quieter, but it's still urban... until the sheep and goats wander by :)

Heather Dray said... [Reply]

Yes yes yes! I love it.

As for me here in Cairo - something I never thought I'd every say: "I'm sorry I'm late to work. I got caught behind a donkey cart in traffic."

Please. Write your own stuff.