I love Middle East, the colours, the scents, food, warm and welcoming peoples with a lay back attitude to life. Everything there happens “Insha Allah”. Amongst other Middle East countries Jordan has a very special place. Wherever you go thousands of years of history unfolds in front of you. You don’t have to close your eyes to imagine how was the life under Romans, the Greeks, the Ottomans and then the Crusaders. Walking on the cobbled streets surrounded by mixed Roman and Greeks pillars, you are actively participating in a daily life of our ancestors. You can feel the power of the super wealthy, the hustle and bustle of the city life with shopkeepers calling the customers to visit their shops, you can rest by the water fountain and look down on the dwelling of those less privileged and ponder how dreadful their life must have been. You can admire the brilliant minds of the architects and engineers and feel empathy for the slave’s labour. You are literally re-living the past times. Step out from the ancients cities and you are walking in the footsteps of the Prophets, the holy of the holies, the places from the Bible, the Holy Quran and the Torah. Jordan has it all the beauty and the soul.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Jordan is full of interesting places and each of them leaves unforgettable memories however Petra is out of this world. No matter what you have seen or read in the books it will still surprise you with its ingenuity, beauty and the spectrums of colours. Meet the peoples, the custodians of the Nabateans and you will feel like the time has stopped and you are part of that past life, an amazing experience. The next uplifting experience was on Mt Nebo where once Moses stood and looked across the Jordan River to the Promised Land, which he was never to set his foot on. The floating in the Dead Sea will never be forgotten as well as camping with the Bedouins and stargazing in Wadi Rum.
I will also treasure the encounter with a handsome Bedouin who was ready to give up his two camels Shellah and Aboresha (his favorite one) in exchange for my beautiful, tall, blond friend. He wanted to make her a Queen Bedouina. I was going to be a matchmaker. Not sure what the customs would say seeing two camels at the UK border. At the end the not-be-groom rode his camels along our open jeep and blew endless kisses to his not-be-bride. My friend was leaving re-assured that she has an open invitation to come back to her own Kingdom.
- What did you think of your group leader?
What can you not say about Zuhair? He is the Best! First of all he is handsome, that counts in Jordan very much. Secondly he has very warm personality; thirdly he has enormous knowledge of the ancient and modern history of Jordan. He also loves his country and its’ people and that became infectious on us. He was an ideal guide. He knew where and when to go, so we could avoid the crowds and feel special. He made an extra effort to show us places where other tourist normally won’t visit. He told us many stories, most of them from 1000 and something Zuhair’s Arabian nights J
He took us to the restaurants where we could sample the local food and we took him to the Cave Bar in Petra where we danced Arabic dances with local Bedouins (three steps to the right and a kick, again three steps to the right and a kick and the rest whatever anyone remembered). We had our own dance. You are a Jordanian shining Star, thanks Zuhair.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
The successful trip makes up from a good guide, the places at the destination and the travelers. We had it all.
We have bonded from the start. We did things together and have times where individual preferences where respected, we made a point of dinning together, we were different in ages but this never stopped us from enjoying each other company.
My main advice is, take your time in your busy schedule to stop to talk to the local people. Greet them in their language, ask for their names, ask about their family and life. Order tea with Richela in Petra on the steps on away up to the Monastery, it will be ready when you go down. Ask the Bedouin at the one of the View Point to play you a lute and ask for the translation of the song. They love their poems about their existence. Speak to the Bedouins selling jewelry. You will learn a lot why they have chosen this type of life having access to modern technology. Lots of them are educated people with their own dreams. Learn from locals 5 pillars of Islam, you would be surprised how close we are in our believes.
And in a small way help the local economy. My friends and family love the presents are bought for them. It costs double in the UK. Jordan isn’t the cheapest place on earth. They don’t have natural resources’ like their neighbors so tourists are greeted with open arms and you will often hear a word “welcome” so whatever we spent there is greatly appreciated.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
- Just Enjoy it!!!