Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fine Online Guide to Jordan Travel

If you are considering a visit to Jordan, there is a virtual guidebook to the country available online at Visiting Jordan is something I would recommend strongly, not just for world heritage sites like Petra and Wadi Rum, but for the hospitality of the people.
Jordan Jubilee, which is also available in book form, is the work of a woman named Ruth who has been visiting the country frequently for some 20 years and has been "adopted" by some local families in Wadi Rum and Wadi Musa. (Wadi Musa is the town near Petra, and Wadi Rum is a desert preserve where part of the Lawrence of Arabia film was made.)
The Website includes information on transportation, lodging, food, shopping and local customs, and recommendations for guides, particularly in Wadi Rum.  There is also a lot about the local culture, and suggestions on how to dress and deal with the locals. One important point--do not offer a much lower price to a merchant. Bargaining is allowed, but the first price quoted is likely to be close to the price you will pay, and vendors will be insulted if you quote too low an offer and may refuse to deal with you further.
I am highly impressed that Ruth has managed, travelling as a single woman, to insert herself so well into Jordanian society. I too was alone when I visited Jordan in 2003, and found it intimidating at first. That had something to do with the fact that war had just broken out in Iraq with the American invasion, but I still believe that many women find the heavily male-dominated Arab culture (at least in the pbulic sphere) difficult to deal with.
In 2003 I stayed at the Hisham Hotel in Amman, which is situated in the embassy section of Jebel Amman in a flourishing garden. The Hisham is still there are still looks charming, but prices have risen a lot. I think I paid about $40 a night, but now a single costs about $105 with breakfast. According to Jordan Jubilee, hotels tend to be booked up quickly since tourists have returned to the country in large numbers. So far, at least, it is a peaceful haven in a troubled part of the world.
In any case, Ruth has done a great service for her fellow travellers in hosting this site.


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