advertisement

Business Hours Most businesses are open every day except Friday, which is the official weekly holiday. Some Christian-run businesses close on Fridays and Sundays. The following are general open hours; specific establishments may vary. And keep in mind that some shops and businesses close for a couple of hours in the middle of the day; others may be closed for part of the day on Sunday. During Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, everything changes. Shops, museums, and offices open from 9am to about 2 or 3pm (closed Fri), while street markets do business every day but close up about half an hour before sunset. Banks and government departments may only be open for two or three hours in the morning. The following are general open hours; specific establishments may vary: Business: Sunday to Thursday 8:30am to 1pm and 3:30pm to 6:30pm. Banks: Sunday to Thursday 8:30am to 12.30pm; some open again from about 4 to 5:30pm. Most banks and other outlets offer 24-hour access to automated teller machines (ATMs). Government: Sunday to Thursday 8am to 2pm. Shops: Daily 8/9am to 8/9pm. Town-center markets: Daily from 6pm on.

Electricity Dubai uses 220 volts AC (50 cycles). Travelers should invest in a multi-purpose adaptor.

Emergencies Call tel. 191 for emergencies.

How to Make International Calls Cellphones reign in Jordan; don't even bother with the public phones you see standing around -- few of them work anyway. You can also use prepaid phone cards or use credit cards to make calls from your cellphone.

How to make international calls from Jordan: Dial 00 followed by the country code + city code + the personal telephone number.

International directory enquiries: Dial tel. 1213.

Operator-assisted calls (including collect): 1322

Cellphones/mobiles: Check with your provider in advance to see if your cellphone will work in Jordan. Most U.K., Australian and New Zealand mobiles use GSM technology, which works fine in Jordan (be sure to call your phone provider before leaving the country in order to get international access, or "roaming," switched on). Most U.S. and Canadian phones won't work in Jordan; check with your provider. Or you can choose to rent or buy a Jordanian mobile, an easy and relatively inexpesive alternative. Currently two Jordanian mobile phone providers, Fastlink (www.fastlink.com.jo) and MobileCom (www.mobilecom.jo), have cornered most of the market. Both have dozens of outlets in Amman; see their websites for full details.

Internet Access Internet access is widespread via Internet cafes and hotels. Internet cafes. The big hotels all generally have in-house broadband, or local dial-up service, and temporary user IDs for guests' use. Alternatively, many Jordanian ISPs issue scratch cards that let you get online on a temporary user ID and password via a local dial-up number. The big supermarkets in Amman, among other places, sell these cards for about JD10 (which buys 15hr of access time); printed on the back are a phone number, a user ID and, beneath a scratch-off layer, a password, all of which you key into your settings before connecting.

Liquor Laws Alcohol is served in most restaurants and bars in the city, except during Ramadan (non-Arabs can still get a drink in a hotel). Alcohol can also be purchased in supermarkets and some shops. During Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, alcohol is not sold except to non-Arabs in larger hotels and smoking, eating, and drinking in public is prohibited during daylight hours.

Mail Jordan Post (www.jordanpost.com.jo) is the country's postal conglomerate; go to the website for specific post-office locations. Post office open hours are: summer: Sat-Thurs 7am-7pm, Fri 7am-1pm; winter: Sat-Thurs 7am-5pm, Fri 7am-1pm. Most 4- and 5-star hotels offer postal services as well.

Stamps (tawabe'a) for postcards or letters to international destinations cost 300fils to 500fils, but packets and parcels can be prohibitively expensive: from JD10 to JD15 for 1kg.

Newspapers & Magazines The two biggest Arab daily newspapers are ad-Dustour and al-Ra'i. The main English-language daily is The Jordan Times. A weekly English-language paper, The Star, is published on Thursdays. English-language newspapers (like the International Herald Tribune) are widely available. An English-language magazine, JO, is a lively entertainment and lifestyle monthly.

Police Call tel. 196.

Safety According to the U.S. State Dept., the threat of terrorism remains high in Jordan, where anti-Western sentiment has grown in recent years. Visitors are urged to avoid demonstrations or large gatherings of people. On the other hand, Jordan is quite safe for travelers in regards to domestic crime. It's reported that petty crime is prevalent in the downtown Amman Hashimiyah Square area and near the Roman Amphitheater. In the narrow streets of the older parts of the city center, crowded conditions invite pickpockets and other petty criminals -- so take the usual commonsense precautions. Keep your valuables in a safe place.

In this primarily Muslim country, wearing revealing clothing is considered inappropriate -- disrespectful even -- and conservative dress is advisable for both men and women in the old part of Amman (downtown), and outside the cities. Shorts are rarely worn by either sex. Women should dress modestly to avoid any (mostly harmless but often annoying) harassment.

Smoking Under Jordanian law, smoking is banned in public places and on public transport. However, enforcement is minimal and smoking is allowed pretty much everywhere, including restaurants and cafes. Some of the major hotels do have nonsmoking rooms. The anti-smoking forces are making a little headway: Media advertising of tobacco products is banned, and fines are imposed on shopkeepers for selling cigarettes to those under 18.

Smoking flavored or perfumed tobacco in a nargileh, the traditional water pipe or hubble-bubble (a shisha, is an attraction in itself in most coffeehouses and many restaurants.

Taxes Jordan imposes a government sales tax of 17%. Add to that a 10% service charge tacked onto the bill in many restaurants. Hotels also include a 10% room tax (or service tax) to its bill.

Time Zone Amman is in the GMT +2 time zone, which means it's 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (and thus London), and 7 hours ahead of New York. Jordan observes Daylight Saving Time.

Tipping Tipping is not customary in Amman. Many of the better hotels and restaurants add a service charge of about 10% to your bill. You should leave a tip in line with the service you received in smaller restaurants. Taxi drivers are generally not tipped, but it is customary to pay the nearest round figure to the price on the meter.

Water Hotels rated four-star and up have their own filtering systems, and their tap water is safe to drink. In other places, bottled water is recommended. All fruits and vegetables should be washed thoroughly before eating; avoid salads and cold meats that have been sitting out for a long time, especially during summer months.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.