The City Amman

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First Impressions from Jordan and Amman

There are a lot of security checks in Amman. When entering a building you have to place your luggage and your bags on a belt and everything will be scanned. And you have to walk through a metal detector. Whether Shopping Center, Hotel or Lobby does not matter. If the device gives alarm nothing happens though. But you get a feeling of security.

In front of many buildings there are watchmen with more or less weapons. And that although there has not been a single incident for years. Maybe because of the watchmen.

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All of Amman has the colour of limestone. This is because of a law that forbids any other material or colour. Maybe this is the reason for all the small details in architecture, because everyone tries to differ his building from the neighbour. Also at the higher buildings you find round arches, ornaments, small towers and other oriental decorations.

Amman is prepared for international visitors. Most of the traffic signs are bilingual, Arabian and English. The majority of the people speaks a very good English. But there is only one person in Jordan who can speak Chinese – according to our driver.

We had the feeling that there were no other tourists in Amman apart from us. There are a lot of business travellers, but no holiday-makers. Most of the women wear a headscarf and there are fully covered women. On the other hand there are women in miniskirts and backless tops. Maybe I should have taken my tops as well…

Our driver shakes hand with Achim but not with me. Otherwise I had no problems so far talking to men in shops or restaurants. While visiting the main mosque it got a little complicated. First they would not let us on the ground because my hair was not covered. After I had put a headscarf on the first security person decided that I would need more coverage. With a jacket that covered most of my skin I even was allowed into the women prayer room. Achim on the other hand was not allowed into the mosque. The mosque is really impressive. It was built in 2005 and fits a thousand people. And it has a huge and beautiful garden.

All in all the people in Jordan are very friendly. Very often we are greeted with “welcome to Jordan” and nearly everybody asks where we come from or whether we need something and how we are doing. A lot of tourism professionals could learn from that.

We are seeing and discovering very much so far. Our driver takes us to restaurants and shops which we would not find without him. We have been to a shisha shop and a spice shop. It was tempting to buy half of the shop, but credit cards won’t work though there is a sticker at the door.

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Food is mostly American. There are all known fast food brands in Amman. But you can also find traditional regional food. Breakfast in our hotel offers apart from cheese and sausages also hummus and foul.

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