My parents and I returned a week ago from spending 20 days in Israel and Jordan. It was a family friend's wedding that brought us there, but it was our love for Israel and desire to see Jordan that kept us away from home so long. While in Jerusalem, mom and I took dad to see a few places he missed the last time while he was working (e.g. Knesset, Mahane Yehuda, Garden Tomb). But we also went to many places that we haven't seen. That said, there are still many places in Israel we want to see (e.g. Safed/Tsfat, Negev, Jericho, Mt. Carmel). Maybe next time... DEFINITELY next time!
Since we were visiting Israel, hitting up Jordan seemed a sensible thing to do, no? We booked a driver and set an itinerary through an agency in Amman. I enjoyed Jordan overall; It is as much the Holy Land as Israel is, dripping with biblical history. But as the two Americans I met working for the U. S. State Department in Amman said: unlike Israel, Jordan is more akin to the rest of the Middle East than to western countries. This statement sums up my experience as well, though nothing I can give in conditionals.
While traveling in Jordan, I never felt I was in danger to crime or terror and I never felt particularly threatened as a woman. I enjoyed some local hospitality and I received some attention for my Asian face. But one thing I was uncomfortable with throughout my time in Jordan was an expectation that I had money to fork over. The relationship of the locals that rely on tourism to foreigners is one of economic exchange: no sentiment, no philadelphia. I was walking cash.
Jordan's tourism industry and economy are suffering due to the instability in the surrounding countries. The suffering is no excuse for harassing tourists for money, but the surrounding instability is no excuse for travelers not to visit a safe haven in an unstable region. I believe more tourists visiting Jordan would provide economic security to the country, and in turn give Jordan the means to remain a stabilizing force in the Middle East.
Here I've listed the places we visited and will try to post write-ups on these locations. Stay tuned!
- JERUSALEM// Jan 2-5, 2016 Knesset, Mahane Yehuda (The Souk), Yemin Moshe, Garden Tomb, Kotel Tunnels, The City of David
- ACRE// Jan 15, 2016 The Hospitaller's Fortress, Templar Tunnel, Market Street, The Turkish Bathhouse
- HAIFA// Jan 14, 2016 Ba'hai Shrine and Gardens, Louis Promenade
- TEL-AVIV// Jan 16, 2016 The White City (Bauhaus Architecture)
- HEBRON// Jan 6, 2016 The Tomb of the Patriarchs
- Day 1// Jan 7, 2016 Crossing the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge Border
- Day 2// Jan 8, 2016 Ajloun, Jerash
- Day 3// Jan 9, 2016 Amman Citadel, Roman Theater, Dead Sea
- Day 4// Jan 10, 2016 Mt. Nebo, Madaba, Kerak
- Day 5// Jan 11, 2016 Petra
- Day 6// Jan 12, 2016 Wadi Rum, Aqaba, Red Sea
- Day 7// Jan 13, 2016 Crossing the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge Border