'welcome to jordan'
11.16.13 - 11.16.13
I arrived in jordan at 1am- after 7 days of work travel, hopping from place to place, somewhat resembling how we tend to vacation, a different city each day, but this time there was little room for pleasure- it was a focused long week, where i officially realized work travel is not so glamorous! i had the pleasure of sitting next to a couple that i chatted with the entire 4 hour flight- something i rarely do (i'm seem to be developing habits from my other half!). The couple was visiting jordan on a mission to work with children in refugee camps- teaching them through music and science. Zaatari- one of the largest refugee camps in Jordan- home to over 100,000 Syrian refugees- is one of the places this couple was headed and one of the largest recipients of aid from Unicef- my dad being the pivotal reason for my visit. Upon arrival i had already learned so much about jordan, from a couple who had done their research, visiting the middle east for the first time, needing to understand cultural norms to adapt their curriculum accordingly.
Jordan was already one of the most friendly places i had visited before leaving the airport! whilst arabic is the primary language and english is rather limited, every single 'jordanian' i passed said 'welcome to jordan!' very proudly. i learned a few arabic words from the immigration officers, who were in no rush to hurry me along in line, finding amusement in my pronunciation, i paid for my visa upon arrival and ran to get my baggage.
First impressions- similar to india but quieter, cleaner, more orderly, limestone architecture, no pollution, olive trees, roundabouts/no traffic lights, great roads, and friendly people. I reached my dads apartment and crashed after a long week- knowing tomorrow would be the beginning of vacation travel!
Our first day was spent in Madaba- a small city in central Jordan- known for Byzantine mosaics dating back to the 6th century, found in a small beautiful little church. We had lunch at a historic landmark home of sorts that had been turned in to a beautiful open air restaurant- Haret Jdounda- and enjoyed the beginning of a typical meal out eating local food- hummos, babaganoush, pita, foul (a hot bean dip), fathoush, vine leaves, etc. We ended the day back home in the apartment with a bottle of wine, catching up on all of our travels/preparing our agenda for the rest of the week in Jordan.
Our next stop- the ancient city of Petra.