Petra, Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea. Jordan.
In a twist of schedules, we’re headed there in just over a week to experience it all for ourselves.
Jordan? How’d That Happen?
We’ve always been interested in visiting Jordan. It’s long had a firm spot on our itinerary for the Middle East.
Then, enter an invitation from the Jordan Tourism Board just a couple of weeks ago.
In light of the media’s rather predictable painting of the entire Middle East with the brush of what’s been happening in Egypt, we figured a visit to Jordan at this time makes a point: don't make assumptions, don't avoid an entire region based on what’s happening in a few countries.
This backdrop also gives our trip to Jordan added context, story.
Jordan Itinerary: History, Culture, Adventure, Food…People
Jordan is not very large (in fact, it’s about the same size as the U.S. state of Maine or Indiana), but its history is long and deep. If our itinerary is any indication, there’s absolutely no shortage of fascinating stuff to do there. As Uncornered Market itineraries go, this one is going to be chock-full. Here’s a rough idea:
- Scuba diving in Aquaba
- Trekking overnight in the Wadi Rum desert
- Ruminating on life in the Dead Sea
- Castles galore (Crusader Castles Karak and Showbak, Desert Castles, and Ajlun Castle)
- Roman ruins of Jerash
- Amman, the Citadel and the Roman amphitheater
Wadi Rum Desert
We are also looking forward to getting to know Jordanian food, with dishes like mansaf (lamb in yogurt sauce topped with a bunch of amazing Middle Eastern bits, nuts and herbs) and stews like maglouba. To that end, we've also managed to include a cooking class as part of the itinerary.
Since this will be our first visit to the Middle East, we’ll also consider this the beginning of a very long, drawn-out firsthand investigation into who actually invented hummus. (In case you’re unaware, this unresolved argument has stewed in the region for ages.)
And as excited as we are about what is planned, we understand that some of our most transcendent travel experiences often take place when we get lost, meet random people on the street, and explore the local culture in fresh, open markets. So we’ve negotiated a good bit of free time to do what we do best: wander, talk to people, discover.
To say that we are excited by all this: an understatement.
The Dead Sea
Is Jordan Really Safe? (you know, with all those protests in the region)
Anticipating some anxiety from our parents and friends — and understanding that the reality on the ground may not always match what circulates as news — we contacted a friend who has lived and worked for years in Amman, the capital of Jordan. His response: “Safety shouldn’t be an issue when making a decision whether to take this trip.”
More generally, the Middle East tends to fill the news too often for all the wrong reasons. We have long hoped to fill a few of our pages with the right reasons, including the experiences we’re known for having and the human connections we’re known for making.
The Wrap and What’s Up After Jordan
We are scheduled to fly to Jordan on Royal Jordanian Airlines on February 25th from our current perch in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
So if you have any questions, any recommendations, any contacts, any anything with regards to Jordan, now’s the time to speak up. We’ll have two weeks in country to seek it out.
Finally, in case you are wondering, “What’s up with your trip to Bangladesh?” We are headed to Dhaka straight from Amman. After all, we'll need someplace laid back to absorb all that we experience in Jordan.