Arrived safely in Jordan at 12am and waited in the airport for 2 hours for Josiane to arrive – wasn’t too bad, we chatted outside in the pleasant Jordanian warmth and the time flew by.
Had a relaxing orientation with the fellow Yalla Brits, followed by a delicious lunch of falafel and houmous – I could get used to this!
After lunch I spent a few hours walking around Amman with Thomas, following instructions from Hannah’s treasure hunt. She’d given us questions or things we needed to find out – mainly by asking the locals. This was a really interesting way to discover parts of the city and chat to Jordanians – they were so hospitable and welcoming and asking for nothing. Sometimes we would be approached and asked if we needed help – it was incredible. Chatted to one guy in his coffee kiosk- which had been in his family since 1946. He talked to us, practiced his English and gave us a taster of his coffee – very strong and not really to my taste but I drank it anyway!
Interesting things / cultural differences:
- Put toilet paper in a bin
- To greet – once you know someone well enough you may kiss them on the cheek – one on one side and two on the other
- Like in Morocco the roads are quite crazy – there are no road markings as these have been eroded by the cars that never stay in the lanes
- Very few people walk around – to cross the road you just have to start walking and hold out your hand to any oncoming traffic. A bit hairy but it works!
- When you ask ‘Where are you from?’, we usually mean ‘Where do you live?’ or, ‘Where were you born?’ – to Jordanians, especially Palestinian Jordanians, they won’t say ‘Jordan’ or another place, but they will say ‘I’m Palestinian’
- Jordanians are incredibly hospitable – they want to give you things, help you when they can and want to make you feel welcome. Our hosts want to make us feel at home, they’re so giving and kind. Passers by on the street ask to help or want to chat. I got waved at and had a conversation with 3 fully clad women in burka’s – they wanted to know where I was from and seemed so joyful to know I was visiting their country.
I think I’ve fallen in love with this place already. The city, the people and the culture – there’s just something about it and I can’t wait to discover more and make new friends.