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French Version

Loving the Internet in Hashimi Al Shamali!

The Internet in Jordan is surely becoming part of our every day lives.

Although the majority of households in Jordan do not yet have computers to connect to the Internet, ordinary people are flocking to the sprouting Internet cafes around the Kingdom to get to the information superhighway!

Hashimi Al Shamali is one of the suburbs of Amman where an Internet connection is becoming harder to do without.
One 29-year-old Internet cafe owner says he opens 24 hours a day. "Most of our male customers come after midnight so we need to keep open," he told The Star. The owner, who prefers to remain anonymous, says more people are coming to use the Internet in his cafe. "On average, 50 male and female customers come here daily, though the number of males is larger," he added.

"The ages of the customers vary, but are usually between 16 and 45 and use the Internet mainly for chatting and emails."

"I don't care about the age of the customers and or why they are using the Internet. They can come and smoke freely here," he added, ignoring the law, which says customers must be over 18.

"I usually come here three times a week, depending on my pocket money," said Hamza Ali, a 16-year-old. "I mainly use the Internet to play games, and for emails," he added.

Ali does not believe the Internet is necessary for him, "but it could become so in the future." Another customer, Ahmad Hussein, a 26-year-old insurance employee, said, he uses the Internet regularly. "I use it to check insurance websites, related to my job." Hussein however, does not have an Internet connection at home, because he said, "it's too expensive."

On the other hand, Bayan Hasaneen, a 15-year-old, uses the Internet four times a week. "I do it only to check my email. Despite this, she doesn't think the Internet is essential, somewhat "silly" in fact!

Lutfi Mahmood, another Internet cafe owner, who is only 22, remains open all day. "We get between 10 to 15 customers daily, mainly males and their age ranges between 18 to 45, they basically use the net for chatting," he said.

"Customers under the age of 16 are not allowed to use the Internet but the people who come here can smoke," he added." I make a good living from this business."

Qadri Qassem, a 32-year-old employee in a decoration establishment, said he uses the Internet four hours every week.

"I like to read the world's latest news on the Internet, in addition to checking my email," he said. "Of course the Internet is important, but I don't want to have it at home," he added.

The same goes for 25-year-old university student Emad Zakarneh. He is rather hooked to the Internet. "I come here daily and use the Internet for two hours each time," he said.

"I come here to chat and use the messenger," he said. "I definitely think the Internet is a must, this is the age of technology, to know what's going on, you should be connected, I wish I had it at home."

Ishaq Mohammad, 17, uses the Internet to listen to music and play games. He only uses the Internet for an hour each week and he too would like it at home.

Another regular sitting next to Mohammad is Hassan Hussein, an Iraqi. The 28-year-old uses the Internet for up to four hours daily. "I have many friends and relatives abroad, it is easier to call them. I also voice chat with English native speakers to improve my English, the Internet is a must for me."

Internet cafes are mushrooming in Hashimi Al Shamali, another one belongs to 35-year-old Nabeel Haddad. "We open from 10 am till 4 am the following day," he said. "We get 25 customers a day, they are mostly males between 21 to 40," he said.

"Most of the customers come here to chat," When asked if he allows teenagers to enter his cafe, he gave us a very confident answer. "I always keep an eye on teenagers. I have them seated near my computer so I watch their work. They are not allowed to enter some websites and can't enter my cafe after 8 pm," he said. "I have a special room for smokers because most of my customers are non-smokers," he added.

Fathi Ahmad, a 25-year-old, spends long hours at the Internet cafe, in fact from 9 am to 5 pm. "Because I'm preparing for my Toffil, I need to practice my English, and I get this chance through voice chat, and use some sites for the Toffil exams," he replied.

Another customer is 44-year-old newspaper employee, he is designing a website. He doesn't come to the cafe frequently, but when he does, he browses the websites for ideas to get ideas for his own website.

Moreover, there is Dina Korush, 25, she also uses the Internet daily. "I use the Internet to chat with my fiancˇ in the USA, I also have many friends and relatives abroad, it is essential for me," she replied.

The Internet appears to becoming part of our culture. What's happening in Hashimi Al Shamali is happening elsewhere in the other parts of the country. What is interesting is that people, males and females, appear to be finding different uses for the Internet.

Sumaia Al Khalidi
The Star

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