I have chosen Jordan to star as my country of choice for my first blog post for an abundance of reasons. For those of you wondering whether it’s the country situated amongst all the terrorism and crime, you are right! Jordan’s location may not be the most appealing to travellers as its border countries are Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel/Palestine.
However, don’t let this reason stop you from exploring the place that I credit as being the destination of one of the most memorable trips. I can assure you that The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the country’s official name, is one of the safest Middle Eastern countries, and has an effective anti-terrorism strategy in place. Put it this way, if I can navigate my way through the complexities and the twists and turns of this vast, rugged and often wild country, I am almost certain anyone can!
Before I continue with my assurances of how safe I felt touring around Jordan, I should mention that one of my more impressive skills is that I can fall asleep almost anywhere. I usually count myself lucky during my travels to have such a valuable and advantageous gift, but in Jordan I would highly recommend you to stay awake while driving through the scenic desert roads. On day three of my Jordanian adventure, while driving through the mountains towards the Dead Sea, I was awakened abruptly and noticed that the taxi I was in was surrounded by four armed men in uniform. To say I wanted to shit myself is an understatement.
Inevitably my mind jumped to the worst thought, should I try and leg it and hide myself in the mountains? They asked about my nationality, I produced my passport, and I smiled nervously while sweating buckets. It turns out my judgement of them was completely erroneous, they were just the local police. And in fact, very accommodating as they waved on the car smiling.
The helpful Jordanian taxi man (like all the other kind-hearted, considerate Jordanians I encountered on my trip) later explained, through broken English, that their main objective was to find unregistered refugees and certain nationalities who were living in Jordan without the valid visas. So, if you do end up in a similar situation in Jordan, don’t react too alarmingly!
I am certain that this startling incident will always be an important memory of mine. I allowed the world’s biased opinion of the Middle East shape my view of this situation, jumping to the most dangerous outcome. I suppose it is not a surprise that tourism has fallen by 66% since 2011 in mesmerising Jordan.
However, I am so thankful that I didn’t let this worldwide view sway my mind when booking my flights or I would have missed out on the opportunity to explore a whole new world in just one little country. It is rare that the beautiful aspects of the Middle East are publicised and I hope my next couple of blog posts can honestly and justly express the beauty I have experienced in Jordan and similar countries.