King Abdullah Poses As Taxi Driver
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) - Disguised in worn-out clothes and roaming the streets
of his capital unescorted, King Abdullah II posed as a taxi driver to hear
the complaints of his countrymen. (Related
It was the second time in a week that the 37-year-old Jordanian monarch
has gone undercover in a bid to fight bureaucracy in a country where even
children's admission to high school depends on family connections.
Abdullah managed to successfully complete his inquiries on Monday without
revealing his identity, palace officials told The Associated Press. They
spoke on customary condition of anonymity.
The officials said the king spent over two hours in the afternoon chatting
with passengers while driving a yellow cab to both posh suburbs and slums
At one point, Abdullah stopped to ask traffic police for directions
and then mingled with them, discussing their concerns about traffic violations
in a country known for its reckless drivers, the officials said.
``He also heard passengers' concerns on all sorts of matters, which
ranged from political to bread-and-butter,'' said one of the officials.
Abdullah visited a state-run trade zone Wednesday disguised in a white
beard and a traditional Arab robe, posing as a television reporter to hear
He was forced to reveal his identity when the zone's management prevented
him from continuing his tour, saying he had no permit.
Abdullah's late father, King Hussein, played similar tricks during his
The most recent was eight years ago, when he sped off in a motorcycle
in bustling downtown Amman, enraging traffic police who were inspecting
new radar gear.
When the king was finally stopped after a 90-minute chase, he took off
his helmet to greet baffled policemen.
Opening closed societies to democracy
By Fereydoun Hoveyda