Ameen is from Jordan. He drives taxi in Boston. I had hired his cab to pick me up from South Station to my hotel enroute Costco in Everett as I needed some basic stuff I forgot to pack. The bridge was packed. The 5 miles trip took closer to 30 minutes one way which gave us ample time to converse. The following is what I hear of Jordan from Ameen.
Jordan is a beautiful place, mostly at peace with her neighbors. Amman is the most populated and everywhere else population is sparse. Jordan doesn't have oil or gold but agriculture thrives.
The Jordan river used to be huge but now too shallow that you could even cross over by foot in some parts. The river dumps into the Dead Sea where all the life it brings dies.
You actually float in the the Black Sea (or Dead Sea). The only thing to watch out for is your eyes as the water is so concentrated that if it gets into your eyes you can't see anything clearly. When you are done "swimming" in the sea you will take a shower in the hot water springs to remove the salt from your skin, if not you will look like a pillar of salt when you dry.
Amman is among seven hills where it snows. But river Jordan runs in the valley which is warm and sunny. It is roughly 25 miles from the hills down to the valley and most people go there for picnic - even on a daily basis. After work they grab some food, get their family and go down the river to spend a few hours of warmth.
Jordanians are closely knit families. Even though Ameen's Mom lives alone every morning his brothers visit her on their way to work and evenings they stop by on their way back home only to be back an hour or so later with their complete clan to spend more time.
Ameen's Mom visits him every now and then. She says American women are more modest than most women of Jordan in the present days. Even Ameen was shocked to see when he visited home few years ago that most expensive smoking houses were filled with women. Men always smoked, but for women it was considered a taboo.
Ameen's family has plenty of boys. They are 8 kids of which 7 brothers and one sister. And each of these brothers got 3 or 4 or more sons but every one has one daughter. Ameen himself is a father of 3 boys and a girl. He speaks proud of his daughter - how she always loves him more, awaits his return in the nights, receives him with a hug, etc.
Ameen's wife is from Jordan too. Cooks wonderful food. Buys meat, cleans it herself, processes it and packages it for the entire season. Everyday she cooks. She loves flowers too so she grows them, roses of red, yellow and pink, hydrangeas etc. She loves her little son a lot as they spend most of their time together. He is only 4.
Ameen had picked up a vase full of red roses for his wife for Valentine's Day from Costco. He seems a nice guy. So much in love with his family, his countries of both past and present.
At the end of my ride he drove cheerfully off thanking me for the wonderful conversation we just had. I assured him the pleasure was all mine.