Leaving Jordan

Leaving Jordan

Qasr al-Kharana Leaving Jordan
Qasr al-Kharana

I have to admit that I didn’t know much about Jordan before I arrived. My sister, who has spent a lot of time in the Middle East, including Jordan, told me that I must visit the Kingdom. I can tell you I am very glad I did, as this tiny nation is an amazing place.

Dana Biosphere Reserve: Wadi Ghuweir; camping in Wadi Dana

One thing that was very apparent, even before I reached Jordan, is how genuinely friendly Jordanians are. Whilst waiting in a queue to board the ferry to Jordan from Nuweiba in Egypt, a couple of young blokes in front of me asked where I was from. They were Jordanians heading home, and asked for photos with me. They thought it was great I was going to visit their country. Having been harassed endlessly in Egypt, I waited hesitantly for the sting. I was a little ashamed when it was clear there wasn’t going to be any attempt to take my money, and that the two blokes were just being friendly.

Dana Biosphere Reserve Wadi Ghuweir Jordan
In Wadi Dana, the hills have eyes. Wherever you are, there is always a goat watching you

Upon reaching the ferry port in Aqaba, a Jordanian policeman escorted me, and the other four foreigners on the boat, to the customs and passport control area. He guided us to through the necessary procedures, and while we waited for our documents to be processed, began to play the national anthems of our home countries, starting with Denmark followed by Great Britain. He was called away before he could line up Canada and Australia.

Dana Biosphere Reserve, Wadi Ghuweir, Leaving Jordan
Wadi Ghuweir

During my first attempt to buy a few things at one of Aqaba’s many small grocery stores, the young shopkeeper saw me struggling with the unfamiliar currency. He took one of every coin and note out of the till and laid them out on the counter, and then patiently explained each one to me.

Roman ruins at Jerash, Jordan
Roman ruins at Jerash

On one occasion I was standing in the street consulting the map on the phone, when a tall Jordanian bloke and his mate walked past, then doubled back. They asked where I was from and welcomed me. The tall bloke compared our heights, then asked if he could have a photo. As his mate took the picture we stood side by side joking about who was the tallest.

Eucalypt gum tree Jordan
I wasn’t the only tall Aussie in Jordan
Leaving Jordan Amman
Sunny downtown Amman
Roman Temple of Hercules, part of the  Amman Citadel complex, Jordan
The old and the new: the Roman Temple of Hercules, part of the Amman Citadel complex, overlooks the modern city

Buying water for my Wadi Rum camping trip, the bloke in the shop asked where I was from. He then leant forward earnestly. ‘Welcome to Jordan. Sir, can I ask you…is Corona finished?’ I wished I could have assured him that it was, as I am sure his was not the only business waiting anxiously for the tourists to return. I bought two 17 litre bottles of water, one of which he insisted on carrying back to the hire car for me, which was parked about 150 metres away.

Saddam Hussein car sticker Jorrdan
The first few times I saw Saddam Hussein bumper stickers and car accessories, I wasn’t sure I had seen what I thought I had seen. Was that really Saddam? It was alright. The late Iraqi strongman is considered a hero by many in Jordan

Sure there was a little hassle at Petra, Wadi Rum and Karak Castle. But from fun sign language conversations with Bedouin herders in remote areas, to interactions in the towns with both officials and passers by, Jordanians are overwhelmingly friendly, welcoming and helpful.

Jordan is also a place of fascinating history with well-preserved ancient sites, along with striking natural beauty. It’s been a great four weeks here as a guest of the Hashemite Kingdom.

Arab Revolt painting Royal Tank Museum Amman Jordan
The Jordanians are proud of their military history, including the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire in 1916-18. Painting at the Royal Tank Museum, Amman

My visa is about to run out, so it’s time to be leaving Jordan. I’m heading back to Turkey to see a few things that I missed the first time around. I’ll see you in Istanbul.

Worn out hiking boots
I’ve walked the arse out of these boots and they won’t be coming to Turkey. ‘And yea Jimeth he layeth his boots down in the Land of the Hashemites…’

If you enjoyed this post you may also like Exploring Ancient Petra, Wadi Rum

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