Sunday, November 1, 2015

And in conclusion.....

Jordan is a friendly country where many speak English which makes it easy for travellers.

Entry for Canadians is pretty simple.  I just had to buy a 40 JD ($74 CAD) visa at the Queen Aliha Airport, a beautiful, huge, new place.  

The food is pretty good.  Pita bread is a staple, as is hummus and falafel.  They have great desserts such as Kanafeh - baked dough, cheese, cashews, pistachios and syrup. I don't like the baklava as it has a layer of pastry in between the phyllo. Of course kebab is the specialty - lamb, chicken or beef, usually served with a few raw vegetables (cucumber, tomato with a bit of feta) and french fries.  Shawarma is also good.  The only diet soft drinks are 7up and Pepsi and coffee is generally bad - Turkish - so a sieve is required!

The people are friendly and welcoming and used to tourists, although our guide said tourism is really down due to the conflicts in Syria, Israel and Iraq.  I have not felt unsafe anywhere. 

Sites are good - reading a newspaper is possible while floating in the Dead Sea, the ruins at Jerash, Petra - the Treasury and the Monastery, the dunes and rock formations in the desert at Wadi Rum and snorkelling in the Red Sea at Aqaba at the Japanese Garden.

It is expensive - 1 Jordanian Dinar is $1.85 Canadian.  The water is good but the pipes aren't so I had to buy all my water.  I never like doing that, especially when there is no recycling and garbage is everywhere.  Good buys are 355 ml of Diet Pepsi for 65 cents and I got half a kilo of great coffee beans for $11.  Tipping is expected and tax plus a service charge is added to a restaurant bill.  

The landscape varies from flat sand to mountains and sand.  There is a lot of garbage everywhere.  

They used to grow wheat but realized it took too much water so now they just buy it, mainly from Canada.  Olives are their biggest export.  There is no oil or gas and they must import most goods.  People are fairly poor but generous and the country has been very welcoming to Palestinian and Syrian refugees.

It is predominantly Muslim and so there are lots of headscarfs.  Luckily it's not a requirement!

An "8 day tour" really means 6 days of actual touring with an arrival and departure day added on.  5 days would have been enough to see all the sites in this very small place.  

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