Brand obsessed

IKEA logo Fellow countrywoman and blogger, Roba, mentioned the latest IKEA chaos in north London, where people clashed as they gathered for the opening of the famous furniture store. She revisited the stampede that occurred in Saudi Arabia last year when three people died waiting for the opening of that same Swedish furniture giant in Riyadh.

All that reflection made me wonder what the Jordanian reaction would be if this legendary store ever makes it to the kingdom. For some reason, I foresee a similar mania, if not worse, among those ready to welcome the arrival of this touted brand in Jordan.

The call of those golden archesWhat makes me think so? Let’s travel back, back to the mid-1990’s and remember what happened to Jordan and Jordanians when the first McDonald’s opened in the capital. Oh, my! I remember after the initial opening of the store, parts of West Amman were closed for almost a week because of the traffic, as waves of burger lovers came from across the country to get a glimpse of the famous golden arches.

The almighty cheeseburgerI was among those trying to drive to the Seventh Circle District to see what all the fuss was about. Of course I couldn’t get through the massive traffic jam; I was stuck in it for hours. I amused myself by guaging people’s excitement as they waited for their turn to get a taste of that burger. I remember seeing kids dangling from the car windows chanting “McDonald’s! McDonald’s! McDonald’s!” It was, by any definition, mass hysteria.

The story doesn’t end here. When I went to Jordan University the following day I was among a select few that decided to skip early morning classes so we could get to Mickey D’s before anyone else arrived. After ditching school, a group of ten of us or so managed to dodge traffic and arrive safely in Seventh Circle to make it inside. After savoring a Big Mac, we stopped to take a picture outside the store with the infamous Ronald McDonald. If that is not pathetic I don’t know what is.

Would I be surprised if a similar incident occurs in Jordan if IKEA ever makes it to the kingdom? No. Brand obsession is another trait cherished by Jordanians from all walks of life. The story of McDonald’s-Jordan is but one example.

A Jordanian Romance

I saw this on Ameen’s blog and it was too good not to steal and post here. It amused me to no end.

Amman – A budding romance between a Jordanian man and woman turned into an ugly public divorce when the couple found out that they were in fact man and wife, state media reported on Sunday.

Separated for several months, boredom and chance briefly re-united Bakr Melhem and his wife Sanaa in an Internet chat room, the official Petra news agency said.

Bakr, who passed himself off as Adnan, fell head over heels for Sanaa, who signed off as Jamila (beautiful) and described herself as a cultured, unmarried woman — a devout Muslim whose hobby was reading, Petra said.

Cyber love blossomed between the pair for three months and soon they were making wedding plans. To pledge their troth in person, they agreed to meet in the flesh near a bus depot in the town of Zarqa, northeast of Amman. The shock of finding out their true identities was too much for the pair.

Upon seeing Sanaa-alias-Jamila, Bakr-alias-Adnan turned white and screamed at the top of his lungs: "You are divorced, divorced, divorced" — the traditional manner of officially ending a marriage in Islam.

"You are a liar," Sanaa retorted before fainting, the agency said.

Source: [IOL] via [Ameen’s musings]

Aren’t Jordanians just hillarious. We are just unique people.

Oh, the desperation!

Women Propose, Man Disposes

JEDDAH — When a 25-year-old Saudi recently placed an ad in a local newspaper to sell his apartment, he was overwhelmed with the response. Ninety percent of the calls were from women asking about the apartment. Twenty-two of the women who called to ask the price of the apartment, also wanted to know if he was interested in marrying them. One of the female callers offered to pay for everything if he agreed to marry her. She also offered to pay him SR5,000 as a monthly salary. The exasperated youth said: “Such calls are very strange and annoying at the same time. The irony is that I am getting married next week in Makkah.”

Source: [Arab News]

Interesting debate

There is interesting debate shaping up on newswire. The discussion revolves around the latest information on the killing of a family of Egyptian Copts in New Jersey and whether it was a religiously motivated act. It’s worth a look.

What do I think? I don’t know. I think it is still too early to point a finger, as the investigation is still underway. Diverse and controversial opinions are always welcome! Yalla, make yourself heard.

The fortune teller!

My very good friend Mariam wrote a very compelling post detailing her trip to Baqaa, a Palestinian refugee camp, to have her fortune read by the infamous fortune teller Ibtisam. Mariam’s account of the trip is dead on. She fully describes her encounter with Baqaa residents who automatically direct her to Ibtisam’s house without questions, as Mariam’s appearance along with that of her friends didn’t fit such a destitute area. Why else would westernized, Ammanite girls come to Baqaa unless it was to have their coffee cups read?

Unlike Mariam, who went home disappointed after Ibtisam refused to read her cup (for lacking intention), I had the intent and my cup was fully read by Ibtisam nearly five years ago. I don’t recall all of what she told me that day but I remember two major things she saw coming in the near future: Without even looking me in the eyes, Ibtisam predicted that 1) I would marry someone out of my culture and 2) I would spend most of my life outside of Jordan.

Well, I’m not sure I believe in all of this fortune telling stuff, but what she foresaw in my coffee cup was very similar to what happened in my life. Freaky!

Morning surfing

Bill GatesMy morning surfing resulted in this. A picture of a young Bill Gates. Now isn’t this just hilarious? Geez, he looks like such a nerd!

Click here for more pictures.

The Fox BlockerAnother amusing thing I found was the FOX blocker.

Hate Fox news and their right wing propaganda? Then block them with this inline fliter that keeps their TV signal at bay.

I also found an active committee that protects the rights of bloggers. Neat no?

On a separate note, there are continuing updates to newswire, coming on a near daily basis, but very few seem to notice all of our hard work 🙁

So here are some highlights: