Updated: Mar 8, 2022
Treasury, Ancient city of Petra
Jordan is not one of the countries that springs to your mind when you are thinking about your next travel destination. Nestled between Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel and West Bank it doesn’t bring up the let’s say ---‘comfortable’ feeling. But isn’t travel just that- to push you out of your comfort zone and give you an experience of a lifetime!
Our Little Explorer
So we took the plunge and came back with some most memorable and interesting memories! It was definitely spotted with reminders of conflict zones nearby but that doesn’t come close to what you experience. It has got that warm middle eastern feel to it- sunshine, amazing food and very hospitable people. For us the one thing that stood out is the way kids are welcomed in the country. It doesn’t have to do with kid friendly facilities but the people in general- we got a nice packed lunch for our sleepy boy from the air hostess, the hotel security let him take a peep at the x-ray scanner, the bell boy offered a jolly ride on his luggage trolley, the souvenir shopkeeper gave him a little Jordan flag bracelet and escorted him on his walk through aisles laden with the expensive and delicate pottery! We haven’t had that sort of experience anywhere in the world so far! Hats off to Jordanians for being such a kind society!
The Siq of Petra, Wadi Musa
Beduin tribe from the Ancient city of Petra, Wadi Musa
The other wow factor was the diversity of the landscape- dead sea, rugged mountains that look like they have been intentionally sculpted to look so jaw dropping, deserts that make you wonder how something so arid can be so breath-taking, and the jewel of the crown Petra! Magical is the word- its like diving right into your wonderland and seeing it unfold in front of your eyes- it is unreal. It brings out the child in you- which makes your little one a very happy little one!
The rugged yet beautiful landscape of Jordan
Diversity also doesn’t end with landscape- you can experience roof top fine dining in Amman and the very same day walk through the streets of Salt- a place that makes you feel you just time travelled back into history. Salt also brings up an interesting little story to mind. We went there with our very knowledgeable and impeccable guide Hussam- he seems to know every street and every shopkeeper in the country!
Our guide and driver, Hussam
So with Hussam we travelled to the town of Salt. After wandering through the markets we headed to see the old pharmacy (Abu Jaber Museum)- only to find that it was closed for the day as delegates from Australia were due to visit. Hussam worked his charm and the door guy allowed us inside- we were almost at the end of our visit when we were suddenly confronted by an Arab (em a very angry Arab to be precise) with two official ladies following him. He looked at us and asked us something in Arabic and turned to the two ladies- hands up in the air- making no attempt to hide his displeasure- we tried to say we were leaving and that we were just regular travellers and that we were leaving-right leaving now (if he would care to move from the way!!)- it was some crazy few minutes in that futile conversation in two languages- Mothering instincts kicked in and so did all the episodes of ‘Banged up Abroad’. We scanned for the nearest exit and just headed off! Then ended up in a long flight of stairs- another door and straight into the banquet hall- with long tables of food and official looking people in their silk robes and our very own angry Arab! The banter in the hall stopped and everyone looked at us- Our angry Arab stood there in disbelief -his eyes staring at us like a tiger waiting to ward off trespassers- I haven’t looked so desperately for doors in my life- without another word, we just scooted across the hall to the other side and dashed out of the door avoiding any sort of eye contact with anyone. Another flight of stairs and we were out on the street and to the comforting sight of Hussam chatting with the guard. He wanted to ask if we liked it- ‘sure yes’! But ‘I am a traveller- get me out of here’- was what we were really saying!
Entrance of a shop in the Bazar of Salt
Was it the side effect of binge watching or prejudice or something real - I will never know. But experiences like this do make for good dinner conversations! Our trip to Jordan was one of the best - we didn’t know what we were signing up for, and sometimes its nice to not know!
At khazali siq (canyon) in Wadi Rum
Verdict: Go with an open mind, it is very safe for travellers and the place also has visible presence of tourist police. Enjoy the food, stay hydrated and use your common sense- respect the culture- don’t turn up in teeny shorts and tank tops in old town - there are lots of other places especially hotels and resorts where you can soak up the sun the way you want but like they say - when in Rome, be like a Roman!
The unforgiving lunars landscape of Wadi Rum