20 Euro for a return ticket to Amman? Spontaneously, I just bought tickets for me and my friend who was visiting from the US. Before I went to Jordan – I did not know much about the country. I had some basic knowledge about Petra, Wadi Rum, Red Sea, Dead Sea, Mount Nebo, Amman. Decided to travel in January, thinking that I am Polish, so the weather in Jordan cannot be that bad and wanted to explore the country without the crowds. It was also my first trip to the Middle East.
Two days before the travel, I started googling more info about the country. I learnt that a visa is needed, which can be easily bought at the airport. Later I discovered that the Jordan pass is the best option to buy (visa and ticket to Petra combined). After checking the bus schedule I already knew that it was better and easier to rent a car to be more independent and have some freedom. The weather forecast was showing around 10-15 degrees every day. Not bad! Ah, we also decided to be really spontaneous and proper travelers, so we booked the room only for 2 nights in Amman, and to make a plan in Jordan. We felt really comfortable with our little plan, just in case, we had our car.
Let me tell you about 9 things in Jordan that surprise
1. Driving in Jordan
At the beginning, I was really chilled and relaxed. It was busy but it was not so bad as everyone was saying. That’s true, they do not follow any rules, they create extra lanes, they do not know how to drive in the roundabout. The only rule in Amman says the fastest wins. Thanks to the traffic I could explore the capital. But I enjoyed it, at least at the beginning ? I spent almost 8 days in Jordan, when I was leaving the country, I was really happy not to drive anymore. During the day it is busy but still nice, during the night, that is the time when the fun starts. Many people use long lights and they are not aware that they should turn them off. Oh I can tell, their horns don’t stop honking. They also do not indicate when they want to turn or change a lane, sometimes they just stop suddenly and they do not care at all. So have your eyes widely open all the time and check your mirrors too!
2. Petra – wow
I cannot describe the feeling how happy I was when I saw The Treasure, I need to say it: I am really lucky that I could see it, somehow I got really emotional and the feeling was priceless. Then, suddenly it started raining in Petra, so some routes were closed. It got slippery and dangerous to go for a hike. Unfortunately, all wet and cold had to leave Petra as there was a hard rain and the water/river went down through the main route.
3. Snow in Petra
At the beginning it was only raining in Petra, then it started…snowing! I prefer to think that we were really lucky to see the snow in Petra. Many Jordanians were so happy that they were just dancing and celebrating the snowy mountains. It was also a challenge to drive in the mountains, it was really slippery, foggy and grey. For sure it was a proper adventurous day for us.
4. Hummus is everywhere
The food is delicious, but it is a bit surprising that the menu is always the same – it does not matter if you are in Amman, Petra, Wadi Rum, Akaba or Madaba. The menu is always the same, although always delicious. Do not worry if you put on some weight after exploring the country, it is worth it.
5. Desert/Bedouins – hospitality
I fell in love with the desert and people leaving there. It is not easy to live in Wadi Rum, even though it is such a beautiful place. They are so friendly and easy-going. During the day the sky is always just crystal blue, but it does not mean that it is always warm. During the night the sky is just gorgeous. I was just watching the desert stars and falling in love with the magic over there.
6. Poor English
We had so many questions about religion, culture, politics, relationships, education and opportunities to ask. Unfortunately, many people speak only basic English and know easy sentences. One student told us that the worst thing that happened to him is that he was born as Jordanian. He was complaining that the country does not offer much, that he is not able to find a job after his studies even though he is an engineer. Also, he works in the hotel earning just a basic salary – 10 dinars per day for 8 hours of work. It is enough to buy one pizza and one bottle of water.
7. Some people pushing too far
We felt really safe in Jordan until we got to Akaba – a lovely place in the south in Jordan. I have never experienced before felling so unattractively attractive – almost every 10 seconds someone was trying to talk to us or trying to stop us on the street. One guy was following our car, the other one was knocking on the windshield. Many of them were just curious and polite, but some of them did not know how to behave – for us it was just too much. We saw so many beautiful places, also met many wonderful and good people. To be honest, we just escaped from the south, even though it was so pretty, really warm (20degrees) and colourful.
8. Safety/Policeman are really helpful
If you need any help just ask policeman, they are really helpful and nice. One policeman stopped all cars on the main road just to show us the public beach near Dead Sea. Based on the location of the country, I would say that Jordan is a safe country, where people try to protect their peace.
9. A poor country which is really expensive!
I have studied economics and did not check it before going to Jordan – it is a huge lesson for me, check the economic situation of the country before heading over there! The country is poor, does offer many opportunities to explore and spend money but it is really expensive.