Jordan, Middle East, Palestine

Amman, Jordan

Crossing from Israel -> West Bank -> into Amman via Jordan Valley was quite an adventure! I needed a visa for entry into Jordan and not sure which border point I needed to cross to obtain one. I met a taxi driver who offered to take me to the ‘right’ border and even called his friend in security at the Allenby bridge border who said there had been political unrest and there was only a 50/50 chance of crossing. So I decided to go to the Sheikh Hussein crossing, the most northern border and closest to Amman. I had previously rung the Jordanian embassy but they had given me different advice, but I wanted to go with my gut feeling as there was no consistent answer.

Exit tax was about 100 IL and then I had to get a quick bus ride to the other side which cost a few shekels onto the Jordanian border where the visa cost about 20 JoD. Of course I was asked many questions by the Israeli border control when exiting, but it was not as fraction as bad as leaving through Ben Gurion airport. As I arrived on the Jordanian side, I requested for them to not stamp my passport which they pretended to do, it was nice to have a bit of humour after crossing from Israel where everyone was dead serious.

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I then had to get a taxi to the outside of the crossing and wait for another taxi to get to Amman across the Jordan Valley, I took a moment to grab a bottle of water before the two-hour drive across the beautiful desert.
Amman the largest city in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and home to the ancient ruins of many long lost civilisations. It is demographically extremely diverse due to the flow of refugees from it’s neighbouring countries – Palestine, Syria and Iraq. Believed by many to be a dangerous destination but one on the top of the list for many others, I felt very safe and welcomed here. I really enjoyed taking in the culture in this ancient and modern city. 
 
As I passed down Jabal al-Qala’a hill to reach my hotel downtown Amman, I caught a sight of the beautiful Citadel and pillars of the Roman Temple of Hercules. The Roman Theater was also close by, I was only in Amman for one night but I wish I had more time to explore the city.  
 
I noticed the many hills and steps, huge universities. there seemed to be a lot of resources and money in the city courtesy of the royal family.  
 
I got to the bus station to book a coach to Petra in the morning, there was only one bus at 6am and I needed my passport number to book. I found Jordanians very helpful and on several occasions they allowed me to share their personal hotspot when I was in need of Wifi, apparently they have excellent data plans out there!

It was evening by this point and I decided to check out the local shops, I loved the lighting and night vibes. There were lots of souvenir shops, fresh juices, political books in Arabic (which I have in English) and lots of perfume shops.

I had only seen a certain side to Amman but I went to check out the shopping malls and it was HUGE! There was the most beautiful view of King Abdallah Mosque between skyscrapers at dusk, it was truly a unique experience.

It was difficult to find traditional Jordanian food so I ended up eating creamy spaghetti which was quite nice but the food in Amman is well known for causing stomach upsets especially if you eat from the streets, so you have to be careful where you eat from. On my way back to my hotel I had to stop and buy some Jordanian perfume, the store was full of the most unique  Arabic ouds which I picked up for my parents. I also got myself one which they put together in the store with oils and perfume. Everyone has been complimenting me on the scent but i don’t even know what it’s called, my personal bottle had no label. 

Towards the end of my stay in Amman I found out that Uber is apparently illegal in Jordan, which I found out the hard way. After being told to use Uber by the hotel staff and local friends I hailed one at 5 am to get to the bus station for my bus to Petra. the street was completely empty, the shops were closed, however as I stepped outside almost immediately a local taxi driver pulled up and tried to take my bags! ‘No thank you I am ok’ I answered. ‘You call Uber?’ he asked, and getting quite aggressive he threatened to call the police! I don’t know if he had put out some kind of signal but a whole heard of local taxi drivers then pulled up and they all began to argue as he told them an Uber was coming.

My Uber finally arrived as he rolled down the window I asked him if he spoke English, the other taxi driver pulled up alongside and spoke to him in Arabic, he then answered me, ‘no’ and drove off! It was far too early in the morning for this drama, I had to leave in that moment to get my bus on time so I had no choice but to take the local taxi.
 

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A very short stop in Amman and I would love to go back for longer, but I felt as though I had finally arrived in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. On to Petra!

 

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