By Rula Zein-Iddin
I am in awe of the rapid rate of change – predominantly for the better – in a country that has seen it’s share of hardships yet generously opens its arms to so many of its neighbors.
And yet, there is one thing that always intrigues me: the blatantly viral effect of anything innovative that is introduced to a society that is apparently craving stimulus.
This leads to the most incredible fickleness as the “targeted group” jump into huge queues at the latest restaurant opening, battle to be let in to the hippest night clubs and get on any bandwagon in the latest fitness craze which soon become distant euphoric memories as they discover and adopt the next trend.
More worryingly, I am concerned at how quickly things get out of hand.
Last night, as I rounded the corner on Wadi Saqra street, I nearly drove into a glowing stampede of “fast-walkers”.
They walk, jog and run proudly on Amman’s broken pavements with nary a care for the possibility of tripping or twisting their ankle.
They form wide rows that over-flow onto the highways & roads where our renowned manic drivers must swerve, brake or emergency stop in order to make way for this heaving mass of humans. If by chance you are unlucky enough to be stopped at a traffic light, you will need to patiently await several traffic-light changes while they cross the road en masse.
They are a truly impressive sight. Until you start calculating how many hundreds of people are actually there. All ages, all shapes & sizes.
Multiply the risk by the fact that there are several walking groups each owning a day of the week with their walking routes constantly changing, and you breathe a sigh of relief that you aren’t an insurance broker!
I would have liked to pull-over and take their photo but there was nowhere to safely park the car since they totally dominated the right hand side of the road. Which begs the question: Where is a car with a flat tire or engine trouble meant to stop?
People! There is no safety in numbers. I don’t care how luminescent you are nor how many flash-lights you wave at on-coming traffic; this is an accident waiting to happen! All it takes is an over- tired taxi-driver, a burst tire or a drunk-driver to wreak havoc.
Mayor of Amman! This is a desperate plea for parks, pavements & pathways where pedestrians can walk safely & with dignity; and without breathing in the freshly generated scent of carbon monoxide!