Wadi Musa is griped with election fever. It has slowly escalated over the past couple of weeks to today when voting took place. People in Wadi Musa love to party and celebrate. Any occasion or event is a reason to get in your car drive around town with your music cranked, horn blaring, friends hanging out the windows or the back of your ute with someone firing off several rounds of ammo. A national election is certainly deemed an event worthy of celebrating! And celebrating there has been. I have been trying all day to think of ways to describe what the elections are like to give you some sort of idea of what I am experiencing.
If you have ever been to a country grand final then think what it’s like when a goal is scored and the couple of hundred cars that are there all toot there horn at the same time. Now imagine that when in the order of 5,000 cars, trucks, buses (anything with a horn) all toot their horns at the same time and then don’t stop……all day. From 9:00 this morning until 7:00pm tonight, when the polling booths shut, every horn that could be tooted, honked or blared was. And not just ordinary horns, for whilst they were in plenty, it seems that every second car is fitted with a musical horn and then there are the truck air horns which are just loud! Some of the car owners have got creative and manged to rig up their car alarms to go off constantly so that they can add double the noise with the honking of their horn and their alarm. Stereos are on full bore and windows are open to share your tunes with everyone else around. Then there is the gun fire which added a lovely stucatto note to the incessant honking and musical stylings that had been prepared by the locals.
To add to the the noise there is the colour. Every car, house, street corner is decorated with Jordanian flags and candidate posters. Some of the decorations are more out there than others. Some take their decorating very seriously and even go to the lengths of having their cars spray painted with a water based paint in designs and colours of the flag and shape of the country.
Something that I noticed today is that the location of Wadi Musa in a valley with mountains on all sides makes it the perfect natural amphitheatre. Our house is perfectly situated towards the top of the hill to catch the magnified sounds from the petrol/diesel fueled orchestra. Alia certainly got lots of practice today saying brrrrrrmm brrrrmmm which is what mummy has taught her to say when we hear a car/truck etc.
In between all this driving around and being seen the people actually do find time to vote. All men and women over the age of 18 are eligible to vote, and whilst voting is not compulsory I would determine that a large percentage of the population (well at least here in Wadi Musa) vote as they are very passionate and patriotic. Voting takes place at schools and you have a designated school which you need to vote at. There are separate schools for women and men to vote at.
The preferred candidate won and the celebrating is continuing on into the night with fireworks and a party at the winning candidates diwan (hall).
Here are just a selection of photos from what I saw today. Please bare in mind that the quality of these photos is not great as they are taken from inside the car and of fast moving targets as Atef drove me around to see what election fever is all about.
I wasn’t kidding when I said that anything with a horn was out and about today. Check out the top left picture – yep that is a tractor with a flag on it!
One way to really share your music is wire your car stereo up to speakers and strap them to the outside of your car. I liked the use of gaffa tape to hold the speaker into pace on the car in the top left hand picture.
Some of the more interesting decorations going around today. Children and people are a perfectly legitimate decoration to put on the top of the your car. The car in top right hand picture had 3 men and a speaker sitting on top of the roof of the car – not just sticking through the sun roof. I would like to say that the driver was being responsible and driving very slowly but I would be lying!
Outside one of the school polling stations.
Yes this boy is almost completely out of the car window and dragging his foot along the ground.