Landed in Jordan…

Going to Jordan was one of the most spontaneous decisions I have made in my travel life, people who are blessed with a passport like mine do not get this luxury often. We always need to prepare our documents early enough to apply for a VISA, wait for the response before confirming travel plans or risk cancellation fees. I was waiting for a Canadian VISA to spend Christmas with loved ones but it didn’t come, I had limited options and I was feeling that my whole christmas vacation was going to waste…

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View from Hercules Temple,Amman

I chose Jordan as it was open for Egyptians, all I needed was a proof of stay and return so I booked only 2 days ahead of my flight. I didn’t have the time to think between my work and the errands I had to accomplish. Instead I a decision that you may deem as stupid since I was travelling everyday to a new destination, but anyway, I had booked a hotel for my entire stay in down town Amman. The place was awesome in terms of location and had a traditional power breakfast. It was also new and cheap and equipped with WIFI, much needed to plan my itinerary for the upcoming days…Here is the Link if you are interested, I do strongly recommend it if you wanna stay downtown. It is also in a pristine location next to the best sweets shop in town “Habiba” among other luxurious hotels as well as traditional and budget  restaurants.

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Jordan’s river, or what’s left…

 

On the Downside, even though Jordanians were fairly relaxed but they began to behave like maniacs during traffic jams, honking their car horns non-stop and generating a nerve wrecking noise at times. On the other hand, parking was impossible, even though the receptionist was so nice that he rode with me till we found an appropriate spot.later on I found a good slot on a parallel street that the shop keepers use, mainly also because I was back after working hours so it was not as busy. I can imagine that staying in a place located on any of the 7 hills forming the capital city would be awesome as well. There I’ve also managed to observe the actual daily life of people. Downtown itself is not bad, it’s fun for a few hours as you can also explore the roman theatre and some enticing street food, it just may not be comfortable enough for your night time rest.

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The amphitheatre in the heart of Amman

Another spontaneous decision I made at the airport was my transportation mode, I had learned that there are buses to everywhere I would need to visit, well almost everywhere, but also that it’s often better to rent a car yet driving abroad is not something I am fond of or at least I weren’t back then. So instead of booking ahead, I just observed my flight mates, one after the other, heading to car rental desks and decided what was best. I spent a good hour deciding on the best bargain, I ended up with europcar; an international agency offering decent cars with insurance at a good price.

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Road tripping near Jarash in the north

It’s worth mentioning that this trip had ignited my passion for two things; road trips and offline GPS apps on my smart phone. Of course booking ahead would have saved a good deal of money but Jordan is anyhow expensive, at that time the Jordanian Dinar was equivalent to 1.1 British Pound…Still affordable, the car was 25$/day, we ate for around 10-15 dinars per day (for 2 people), the hotel depends on your choices and definition of comfort but will average around 40$ per double room in a decent slot. Forget shopping…

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On the way to Petra…

Before talking places, let’s understand the diversity of the land and try to relate it to the Jordanian life. The south is adjacent to the Saudi borders, it’s a desert, that varies between rocky formations and soft sands. The extreme north is Aden, still a mountain land but heavenly with its beautiful green landscapes and colourful mountain formations. In between the geological formations swiftly changes forming a numberless amount of natural reserves along the cost of Al Aqaba bay and in land towards the dead sea and Jordan river. There is a beautiful variation of character as well between peasants and bedouins, and you’ll find a big contrast, the hardness of a mountain villager is quite different from a desert nomad. Both are tough but different…

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Regulars in Petra…

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Tea and arabian coffee outside Ajloun fort, Jerash

In Amman, there are plenty of bars, clubs and liquor stores, not to mention that Jordan has it’s own production of beer, wine, Araq and other liquors like vodka and rum split between two main brands; Zumot or Saint George and Haddad. I liked Carakale’s beer as much as I liked Moroccan Casablanca, which means it was fine for the occasion but not something I would pick if there were other options. The wines were different, I was into red as it was winter in the mountains but most of it was too dry. I recommend you try out Zumot’s wine and Haddad’s Arak, in terms of grapes I liked the Pinot noir and Shiraz. Jordanian wines are not perfect but it’s worth trying if you are into it, I wouldn’t take a bottle back home though. I was not into Jordanian Arak either, the Lebanese has more flavour, however it’s a personal taste. All imported liquors are available as well.

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Carakale, the local beer…

The meat would have to be lamb’s, cows are a rare commodity. I never used to eat lamb till i tried it there. There are shared famous meals with the Levant countries like Falafel, and  Saudi as well. I’ll tell you what I liked; Street Falafel sandwich with tons of spicy child and fries mixed with Hommos(chickpeas) dip, Kaek Bread sandwich from Salah El din bakery (also a street food), Mesakhan (sees like a chicken fatta but it’s not) specially in a rural aria, yummy Mansaf and Maqluba. Dessert is simply anything called Halawet el Jebn (sweets with cheese), I prefer konafa anyhow.

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Mansaf

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Mouttabel

Everything had feel into the right place, the trip was full of marvels and surprises, some of it were life threatening, like getting lost while going 2500 meters down in an abandoned step route. However Jordan is a feast that can only be experienced, it’s gorgeous on paper but the experience is way beyond. Definitely worth it…

I’ll be sharing more photos from various destinations across the country in the next post.

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Near the city of Petra

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