How Snow Literally Stops Time In Jordan

The rumor of snow tends to sweep through the nation like the storm it emerges from. For days people speak of the approaching flurries with great and anxious enthusiasm. Just like a dying man trying to get his affairs in order before his grand departure, Jordanians will carry out last minute tasks and rearrange appointments and deadlines, rescheduling everything to be either pre- or post-snow. We’ll avoid doing certain things so that we can come back with “well it was a snow day” or we’ll go out and do certain things in preparation for that same day. We’ll shop and stock our bomb shelters kitchen cabinets, we’ll buy gas and kerosene, and the fact that fuel prices are set to go up next week only encourages the carnage. Meanwhile, money is withdrawn in anticipation for the unknown.

We’ll search for winter clothes as if we’ve never experienced a cold front in our lives, and clear the streets on the night before just to go home and hide and listen to the radio or the watch forecasts on TV; become transient meteorologists.

And then we’ll pray. Yes we will all get down on hands and knees and pray and supplicate to the God above, for the country to be covered in whiteness. Because snow equals time off.

The whole country comes to a standstill.

No work.

No going outside.


Just snow and waiting.

And that day off feels like an eternity.

Now to the common working man this can be a much needed day off to rest. But somehow, snow days always feel like more work. If not throughout the day, then whenever you get back to the office. This is especially true if you have a steady job, with a steady income. For others, especially those people who can barely make a living, a day off can break the bank.

Then there’s the economy. Everything stops working.


And the argument has always been that it is less feasible for Jordan to shut down for a day or two than to invest in snow removal machines on a bigger scale (only some main roads get cleared), and to force companies to stay open, or in other words function. I have come to believe it’s actually less feasible. How much would it really cost to remove the snow and clear the streets, and put a bit more police than usual out on the streets for safeguarding? They’re out there anyways to tell you the truth.

But it makes no sense for an already economically struggling nation to sacrifice a day or two at the markets because of snow (of all things). This is the 21st century.

More importantly, the general argument for the status quo has always involved the phrase “it’s just a day or two and it melts”.

What if it’s more?

What if by some fluke of global warming we are subject to a week of snow storms?

What if the ice age comes?

But seriously, what happens if it’s just a week?

Anyways, it has snowed all night and the world outside is silent. I’m writing this post from my office actually, and I’m a bit glad I have something to do and somewhere to go today. When the work is done I’ll probably do what everyone else will end up doing today: take pictures and drink tea.

Because if you can’t beat’em, then you might as well join’em.


  • The anticipation is part of the fun. It is snowing in the desert called Jordan, for crying out loud! The two days off work, the week you speak of, won’t affect us for now. They will when the ice age comes though, but by then, I hope we’d have prepared ourselves and reprogrammed our lives to glide nicely across the snowy days. Otherwise, meh, we’d remain a 3rd world country.

  • I wish I could go to the office right now… my parents were actually making fun of me this morning because I can’t go to work!

    And, work aside, I was supposed to take an important test today for one of my grad school applications, and now I will have to send an email saying “sorry, it snowed in Jordan, so nothing can be done, nothing can be sent, and you just need to understand” πŸ™

  • tololy: lol @ its snowing the desert called jordan…its snows every year! also, yeah, its hella fun, but if you knew how much these 2 or 3 days of unplanned and unexpected weather can cost a country like ours…well suffice to say we will remain a desert, economically at least. im not saying these 48 hours are going to give us the leap into the first world country category, or even win a gold at the summer olympics, but to the everyday working man, to government, to industry, to the markets, they can be very costly at a point in our economic lifeline when costs need to be drastically reduced and not inflated! πŸ™‚

    lina: you are one of the first people that came to mind when i saw all the snow. i said to myself “i wonder if lina has chewed through the strait jacket her parents probably tied her up in by now?”

  • what’s wrong with staying home for a day, two, or even a week, drinking hot chocolate and renting movies for that WHOLE week if this worse case scenario really takes place? don’t be such a cynic and please for a moment assume that only movie rental places will be open πŸ˜€

    seriously, even though i was usually the first to celebrate being off school/work when it used to snow in Jordan, I’ve always found it absurd for the country to plunge into emptiness and silence because a bit of WHITE snow is barely covering the ground!

    I have one word for y’all in Jordan: “Dallo3een”/ “spoiled”.. heck, enjoy it! πŸ˜€

  • looool ya3ni in your imaginary situation, all movie places will be open, thats funny πŸ˜€

    at least one business will be making money in your head πŸ˜€

    yeah we are dallo3een, lil 2asaf.

  • “take pictures and drink tea.”

    i remember when it snowed this way last year (il talji il madye) , even we knew it will be a day off my friends and I went to the university , kept playing with snow and taking as many pictures as our cell
    phones could save until a friend of mine went unconsciouses and we had to take him to the university clinic , so yaaa for babies like us a day off must be DECLARED πŸ™‚

  • in this imaginary situation, at least, there will be one source of entertainment for y’all, better than nothing– that’s what i was thinking of. The business isn’t really my main concern.. You dalloo3een citizens of Jordan are my main concern πŸ˜›

  • although I live on campus, when it snowed last year here – I expected a long time off since it snowed really heavily. So I decided not to go to lectures or anything, although from what I heard later on that NONE of the lectures were cancelled and the lecturers made it.

    People here don’t seem to get stopped by snow, haha – The streets were open in a matter of hours with all that salt spraying. We have so much salt in Jordan, they should try the same thing =P

    But I still love how all Jordan stops, it’s part of the Jordanian ritual – Kids waiting to hear their parents telling them they’re off school today, the things you eat, the way you gather and every once in a while looking outside. It’s lovely, no? hehe – I’m so jealous of you guys =(

  • Very nice Nas. As one of those poor people who own my own business, two days off work is very hard. Although, for me, I’m home in my home office telcommuting and getting done the things I need to do (at least some of them).

    Emad, you are welcome to visit my blog to see the pics from my area of town (scenes from my windows as it were)… I’ll be adding some more in a few minutes.

    And, actually, while I agree about the snow plow thing, I grew up in the American South. We used to have schools closed at the “treat of inclement weather.” Unlike in Jordan (where last year the buses got all the kids from school then had to take them back home when schools closed), they cancelled school if they THOUGHT it would get bad… So, be glad they don’t do that…

  • Nas, I’m dying over your comment to Lina, “chewing through her strait-jacket!!!

    Omar, lol, you may have a new industry on your hands!

    Bilal, in my tough Sierra Mountain community, where women split wood and chew nails like the guys, we had to have two feet of snow to even consider closing school. Snow plow ballet would be going on all night, and even if our road had not been plowed, they would expect us to wade to the highway for bus pickup. Sometimes, there would be no bus and they expected us to ski to school.

    I don’t have any sympathy with folks who are upset about who have to go outside to clean off their satellite dishes. Oh please. We would have to get up at 5am and shovel out the cars, ’cause if the plow beat us to it, the snow burm would be over our heads. Shoveling out the cars before and after every plow run….

    ….boy, am I glad my kids are growing up in Jordan!

  • Mommabean, you exposed me by saying the following:

    “And, actually, while I agree about the snow plow thing, I grew up in the American South. We used to have schools closed at the Ò€œtreat of inclement weather.Ò€

    So looks like I am also living in a place where the “dallo3een” go off school for inclement weather! And guess what, the weather forecast says that Friday might be the day! πŸ˜€

  • This comment may answer the question posed previosly by Bilal, I live in Alaska and have for 9 years which is half my life so I geuss I’d’ve aquired some sort of “wisdom” on the living with snow scheme so here goes: You never learn to “deal” with snow. That is you never realy think; ‘Dude, it snowed about two feet last night…but who cares cause I’m a superhuman, time to get out the snowboard baby!.’ Ouais, almost never. But we do have really cool Enormous snow tractors that drive through and plough it all away, I have no shame for my simple amusement…this is very fun to watch. Also I think you could invest in some skis or snowshoes. I saw the Photos of the Jordanian dudes falling all over the place after the snow, I nearly fell outta my chair! But don’t worry it happens all the time here. At first it is a bit undignified but you’ll gain snow feet eventually and learn to retain your dignity after a fall. Anyway don’t fret hommes noone expects y’all to “deal with it” especially since your used to a climate without (much?) snow. Anyhoo, I hope I answered your question Bilal and just to make you feel better…

    Current weather in Anchorage,Alaska:

    Today it is about 4 Degress farinheit(and the sun’s shining)(it was about -20F last night, nights are always colder, like a dessert I geuss) whoo hoo!

    -J πŸ˜‰

    (The Abbreviated Disclaimer) This message has been sent to you in trust,You are not given consent, implied or otherwise, to use this informationin in a malicious or destructive manner against the sender or any other of
    this earth’s inhabitants.

Your Two Piasters: