Friday, August 06, 2010

2010 Vacation: Jordan - Day Seven - Getting Home And Epilogue

Our last morning in Jordan was uneventful except for a couple things:
  1. A bird, probably the damn Falcon, took a crap on me and my camera bag at the airport.  Splattered off my forehead onto the bag.  Okay.  I get it.  I shouldn't have gone in the women's mosque.
  2. We bought water after passing through airport security just to find out that you had to pass through security one more time before getting on the plane.  To top it off, the free water we got on the plane after we left Amman had to be chugged because we had to go through security once again in Frankfurt.  A pox on the liquid explosive idiots waging a war on my water bottles.
Other than that, the flights home went fine.  No delays.  Better seats.  We also landed in Omaha during a rather spectacular and harrowing lightning storm.

A few observations about Jordan:
  • Talking to people after we returned they wanted to know about the women we saw in Jordan. While most of the women wore the traditional head covering, exposing the entire face (the Hijab), the more conservative head-to-toe, hands gloved, and only the eyes showing was rare.  I saw, maybe, a handful.  In fact, I saw more women with their head/hair exposed than I did with the full covering.  I saw a family at Jerash where the woman was totally covered, the husband was in leisure, western attire, as were their two children.  What struck me as I watched them is that the man and the children seemed under dressed.  I kept thinking that the man should have been in a suit.
  • Jordan is a country of men.  We saw women wherever we went but the men usually out numbered them.  All the waiters, shop keepers, and hotel attendants were men.  The only exceptions were at Petra where there were quite a few Bedouin women selling their wares and at security posts there were often one woman police office to search the women (The Wife was inspected by two different women, short women, while going through airport security).   Beside these exceptions, you only interacted with men.
  • Jordan is Bilingual.  Most of the signs are in Arabic and English.  Everyone we met knew some English.  The Wife wished they would have encouraged us to use more polite Arabic greetings but, frankly, the Jordanians were quicker at the Hello-Welcome than we were with the as-Slām ʻLykm
  • Jordan, while 94% Muslim, is not a very religious country compared to, say, Saudi Arabia.  Jordan is pretty Liberal which may explain why everyone in the Middle East likes Jordan and have made Jordan a vacation destination.  It may also explain why a Mosque was not on the tour itinerary.
  • Another question often asked was about the heat.  It was hot in Jordan but, as they say, it was a dry heat.  We arrived in Jordan at approximately the same time of day that we left Omaha.  The temperature in Jordan was cooler than Omaha and the lack of humidity made it much more comfortable.
  • Water is scarce.  Typically a neighborhood has running water every three or four days.  When they have water they fill tanks which you see on the roofs of most homes.  A big water pipeline is being built to bring water from the aquifer under Wadi Rum that will leave the water on all the time.
  • Cats are the animal of choice.  I saw only a  few dogs.
  • After we got back we rented Lawrence of Arabia.  Neither of us had watched the whole thing.  The movie was filmed in the Wadi Rum area.  It was kind of fun to see where we'd been - I swear I recognized some of the rock outcroppings in the movie.  Some of the blown up trains in the movie were actually filmed on the wreckage of the original destroyed train.  All I have to say about T.E. Lawrence is that he was a nut case.
We enjoyed Jordan.  It wasn't perfect.  Jordan is a rather drab country.  Our hotel was not in a very walkable area of Amman so we were a little limited in the evenings.  I would have added a day at Aqaba and a night in Wadi Rum to sleep under the stars which are said to be spectacular there.  Despite this the new cultures, the many firsts for me, and the hospitable people made Jordan a memorable vacation.  I can now add one more red country on my travel map (At the bottom of the sidebar on the right in the margin).

Next on our list of vacations (all subject to change, of course): 
  • 2011 - Spain to walk the Camino and a visit to our friends in California via Route 66 (Chicago to Santa Monica)
  • 2012 - China, Tibet, and Nepal followed by RAGBRAI.

2 comments:

  1. I hope your next vacation has a little more green. :)

    Wait, you're coming to CA? I should get JaG to come down to meet-and-greet again!

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  2. GH: I think it will.

    Yes we're coming and I am interested in doing a hike with you if things work out. Not sure which day of the week we'll be there - way too soon to know that - but as it gets closer, we should plan something.

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