A few days after my arrival in Saudi, I searched the internet for Arabic proverbs, proverb and quotes addict that I am.
The proverb that I stumbled upon on someone’s Tumblr account was: “Who lives sees, but who travels, sees more.”
As I travelled to Jordan a while ago, I agreed with this proverb more than ever. Maybe even more than with some Friedrich Nietzsche quotes.
Many people prefer going somewhere fancy over vacation. Places like Paris or Monaco. I am not trying to say that there is anything wrong with visiting modern and luxurious places, but unfortunately I have gotten to know way too many people who consider this sort of vacation the only one worth going on. That I find a tremendous pity.
Jordan has so much to offer to those who come there.
It starts with the location itself. I have spent some time in Madaba, a small town some 30 and a little something kilometers from the capital Amman.
It was a rather small place and visibly not as wealthy as Riyadh or Dubai, with all its old buildings that could really use a restoration, the streets full of plastic bags and the nomads along the streets. But to me this was exactly THE thing that made this place so interesting. It was simple but this simplicity seemed to have its own story, as opposed to places with luxury hotels that are all the same, except for the prices that are higher than the sky scrapers in New York City.
The street right next to my hotel was full of souvenir shops. One set up neatly next to the other one, the various, colorful items catching the eye of the passing tourists.
Madaba is famous for its mosaics, that make up the majority of souvenir items, followed by Dead Sea products.
The people in Madaba were very friendly and warm hearted. Sometimes I would even forget that the reason for their obvious kindness, was the wish to sell some of their stuff to me. In every shop that I went into, I was offered some very delicious but a little too strong tea, smelling of overwhelming sweetness and various herbs.
Once I had accepted and finished my tea, the salesman was very willing to sell me my purchases with a discount of 10 Jordanian Dinars, which is close to 10 Euros.
With my souvenirs packed and the remaining sweet taste of tea in my mouth, I was on the way into the desert and from there to the Jordan river.
Forget about capacious shopping malls and spa resorts. All a person needs to relax and really find oneself, is a beautiful place with picturesque landscapes. Landscapes, such as the ones that Jordan has to offer. I have never felt as relaxed and inspired as in the moment of observing the mountains and the desert of Madaba and what would a visit to Jordan be without washing your feet in the Jordan river?
Later that day I went out for dinner in one of the restaurants. The place was full of people in a great mood. As I passed by a table with formally dressed gentlemen at it, one of them looked at me and said, or better yelled with laughter: “Order whatever you want! It’s on the house!” I knew that he didn’t mean it but one could feel the contagious good mood in the air. The room was full of laughter, traditional Jordanian music and the smell of shisha smoke overlapped with the scent of my chicken and Jordanian bread dish.
People in Jordan are way more open than the ones in Saudi, as I found out later. When I walked down the street at the end of the day, two teenage girls leaned out of the window of a passing Jeep and shouted: “Welcome to Jordan!“ in my direction, their voices young and cheerful, their hands waving at me. I couldn’t resist and smiled back.
Life is such an amazing thing. All we have to do is to look at it from the right perspective and even the poorest and simplest places will turn into fascinating destinations.