Staying Safe and Seeing the Sights on My Birthday Trip to Jordan
I took a trip to Jordan in January 2006 for my birthday. It was a fantastic time to go – few tourists, cool but clear weather. I picked Jordan because of my love of historical sites, the older the better. I also wanted a holiday where I would hike all day and relax over great food and wine in the evening.
Amman is a very modern city, and most modern cabs have honest meters and very helpful drivers. Even the most budget of hotels is happy to have a driver at the airport waiting for you when you arrive – your transportation might be a utility van but he’ll get you there! And my little budget hotel was happy to arrange an all-day tour that took me and other guests to the ancient cities of Jerash and Umm Qais outside of Amman.
A lot of locals think all American women are like the characters on Sex in the City so telling people you are married and keeping a friendly but polite distance with local men is a good idea.
At night, a great place to be is Books at Cafe, a bookstore with a restaurant upstairs that’s a great place to just hangout for a couple of hours, maybe even talk with some other travelers or Jordanian university students. It’s fine for a woman to be there alone inside, but don’t walk to and from there at night unaccompanied.
A more upper-class hotel could have probably arranged a scenic drive down to Petra, but my partner and I decided to do a cheap mini-bus down the highway with the locals – cheap, and a much more local experience (and how!). We stayed at the unbelievably cheap-but-lovely Al-Anbat Hotel I in the village near Petra. We took two days to tour Petra, and one day we were joined by a woman also staying at our hotel – Monica, from Bolivia. She said she was getting a little too much attention from the locals and would feel more comfortable touring with us. We had a great time together and I was glad we could make her trip a bit more comfortable.
I should note that I booked this entire trip myself, using information from Lonely Planet Jordan, cross-referenced with Internet searches to verify info.
A lot of locals think all American women are like the characters on Sex in the City.
My advice to women taking a trip to Jordan: long skirts and pants are fine, but I think shorts are too much. A shirt or jacket that isn’t tight and that extends past your butt will make your outfit properly respectful to locals. Short sleeves are okay for the daytime, but consider always having a really huge, light piece of cloth you can wear as a shawl around your arms or as a head scarf for more conservative sites. My boyfriend and I told everyone we were married.
A lot of locals think all American women are like the characters on Sex in the City so telling people you are married and keeping a friendly but polite distance with local men is a good idea. You get to be extra friendly to local women, something foreign men don’t get to do, so use that to your advantage and talk to any local women to get insight into the local people and culture.
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