Amman Market by Steve Smith on In The Know Traveler
The talk on the streets of Amman reflects the same timeless worries that affect all of humankind. According to a recent Zogby poll that included people in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco, the Jordanian people are more worried about their economic well-being and social values than about regional instabilities around them. Jordanians ranked these concerns highest of the five categories in the survey with regional problems, such as Iraq, coming in last.

The war in Iraq does not seem to register much as a regional problem. In fact, the people I spoke with, from hotel personnel to cab drivers to market owners to government officials, all agree that while war certainly has contributed to social problems, they are not their major concern.

However, in that same poll an average of 24% of those in the region also believed things will be worse in 4 years time. This opinion exists highest in countries surrounding the Palestinian problem, but drops off substantially in Arab countries further away.

But you'd never guess it here. Life is good. The streets are safe and nightlife buzzes. The money infusion that refugees have brought has propelled Jordan into an economic upswing that's made it a model to be emulated by other states in the region. People are happy, and the overall sentiment is positive and looking towards a bright tomorrow.

Written and photographed by Steve Smith

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