Random Cultural Question
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Apr 9, 2007 10:04 PM Last Post By: saveabuckjudy
Apr 4, 2007 3:53 PM
Random Cultural QuestionOK... so I booked my flights and I leave April 27th!!! I am VERY excited. My friend's mother in Amman is kind enough to let me stay at their house and I would like to bring her a gift in appreciation. Can anyone give me some thoughts on what would be appropriate? I am coming from the US (New England) if that is of any pertinence. Thanks very much!
p.s: just booked my direct JFK-AMM flights with US airways (operated by RJ)... had to travel on very specific days, but the price was only $809... about $100 cheaper than the next priced flights, and $200 cheaper than most flights on offer. Just though some people may like to know that these prices are out there!
Apr 5, 2007 1:59 AM
Apr 5, 2007 1:17 PM
2good maple syrup might or might not be appreciated for the money you'd pay, how about maple syrup candy
go for high quality stuffed dates (purchased there) or chocalote
if they're christian - try alcohol, ask if they drink first
or gold - you may be able to get a gooodd ring for 150usd.... what's your budget
beware RJ - i think it stillallows smoking....
Apr 5, 2007 2:01 PM
3RJ does not allow smoking, at least on the north American routes. I just flew one and there was no smoking. As for the gift, then anything will be fine. Just avoid Alcohol as a gift in case the family was observant and do not get her a cook book. Sometimes cookebooks will be considered a rude reminder that the host does not know how to cook and that is one of the bigger insults to older middle eastern women.
Enjoy your trip and the Jordanian spring.
Apr 5, 2007 3:32 PM
4No smoking on RJ. It is now part of the "oneworld" alliance, and so conforms with British Airways/American/Qantas/Cathay Pacific international standards.
Personally, I wouldn't bother with dates (Iraqi ones are nicer), maple syrup (buyable in the Safeway supermarket in Amman) or gold (much cheaper in Jordan than the US). Bring, perhaps, a coffee-table book of photos of New England in the fall, or something handicrafty like a teapot and set of cups and saucers in a local ceramic style. Also bring photos of yourself and your family.
Alternatively - and this is just as good, if not better - go to Zalatimo or Jabri or Habiba when you arrive in Amman and pick up a big, two-kilo presentation box of Arabic sweets (i.e. pastries, baklava, all that stuff). She is bound to love that. Though, when you hand it over as you enter, be prepared for her to snaffle it away out of sight with the briefest of thank yous, and never refer to it again; don't worry - the thought has been appreciated. People don't harp on with excessive thanks for gifts in the same way they do in the 'West'.
Apr 5, 2007 5:18 PM
5Ooh! $150 is def. outside of my budget! But I appreciate everyone's input. I'm glad to hear ruff suggest a coffee book as that was my first instinct for a gift... I happen to work at a museum and we carry a beautiful 'Villages of New England' book (that I also get a discount on!). I think that may be the most appropriate thing, and maybe some salt water taffy (to laugh at and call disgusting if nothing else!)? She also happens to be a principle at an international high school, so I was thinking of bringing a good book of fiction perhaps as well.
They are reasonably devout muslims, so alcohol was never on the list! But again, thanks for all the ideas and if anyone else has something they'd like to add, I would love to hear it.
Apr 6, 2007 1:18 AM
6By coincidence, I was just this week looking at a page on Ruth's Jordan Jubilee website regarding etiquette and behavior, and it had a section on gifts. You can find the page at http://www.jordanjubilee.com/meetfolk/behavior.htm.
I recommend reading through the whole thing, but note especially that (according to Ruth) Jordanians will not gush over a gift the way we would in the U.S. This does not mean that the gift is not appreciated, or even cherished. Also note that expensive gifts are considered impolite.
-- Joe / Atlanta / USA
Apr 9, 2007 10:04 PM
7Glad #6 mentioned expensive gifts being impolite, because a gift of this sort is a kind remembrance, given with thought of where you came from and to whom it's being presented. A gold anything would not be appropriate, from my perspective.
The book you mentioned sounds like the perfect item, along with the salt water taffy. Also, getting the discount would be appealing also, as you indicated you're traveling on a tight budget, as most travelers seem to be.
Enjoy your time.
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