It’s been long since I wrote a travelogue about my small trips here and there. This time, I got a chance to go to Jordan for a few days, to Amman. Though not very conducive in terms of weather conditions, but this trip was an eye-opener for me in more than one ways.
My perception about Jordan, before actually reaching there, was that it’s one of those Arab countries that have a lot of oil and there will be number of usual looking Arabs on the streets with the expat Indians and Pakistanis driving all the cabs. Somewhere in the sub-conscious, I also presumed that the weather would also be much similar to what it was in Dubai. Most of these perceptions were torn apart the very moment I landed at Queen Alia International Airport. I had not noticed earlier that it is probably the only country in the Arab world whose airport is not named after the King, but the Queen. My second notion about a large number of expats also got hit hard when a local Jordanian driver was standing at the airport with my name-board, to receive me.
The moment I landed out of the airport, my third notion about the weather got hit very hard by the heavy rain and high-speed winds blowing at nothing lesser than 30kmph. Dressed overly by Dubai standards, with a sweat-shirt on top of a shirt, seemed to be scanty by Jordanian standards. Somehow I got into the car and reached the room. Though the hotel wasn’t something that I’d appreciate much, but I badly needed a blanket to get into. As if this wasn’t enough to prove me wrong, it actually snowed a couple of days after my arrival adding further to my misery.
For most of the stay at Amman, I couldn’t find anyone with a burqa or an abbaya except at the airport, which was very strange for me. But then I read through Amman’s history in one of the Jordan Tourism Board’s booklets which said that Jordan has been home to ancient Roman civilizations and that Christ himself was baptized in Jordan. That’s when I realized that Jordan is very unlike the other Arab countries and has a much diverse history than most of the Arab world. The people there are much friendlier than the Arabs that I’ve seen and heard about.
During this short trip, I could visit only a few places namely Abdoun Circle and Abdoun Mall. I found a couple of nice eating joints at Abdoun Circle and would really like to try the places that I could not. Abdoun Mall wasn’t a mall by any standards, atleast after you’ve seen the malls in Dubai. I’ve heard that there’s a food joint by the name of Jammu Kashmir that serves authentic Indian cousins. Next time, I’ll make it a point to check how authentic are the dishes there.
The most amazing part about the trip that I noticed was that the only thing that seemed to be a common thread among Jordan and the rest of the Arab world are the Hindi movies. Everyone seemed to know Amitabh Bachchan and seemed to be fond of watching Hindi movies every now and then. The moment a local would know that you are an Indian, the reference to Amitabh Bachchan would come in at most second dialogue. That was an unusual discovery to make.
I look forward to my next visit to Jordan, that’s planned in January, when I’ll get a chance to see places like Dead Sea, Baptism Site, Petra and other places in or near Amman.