|Jordan is a surprisingly,
almost disconcertingly friendly place, although I often felt that if I
scratched the surface too hard, there was some degree of anti-Western
sentiment even if it was just that the guide seemed to be obsessed with his
folk hero Saddam! He thought that Saddam was just the kind of "strong
leader" needed to govern the recalcitrant Iraqis and must be a nice
guy because he gave Jordan free oil! I am told that Hitler was
kind to children as well.
they seem to have the tourist stuff at just about the right level; attentive
service, but no hassle. Even the kids only asked once if you wanted to
buy their bit of rock they had just picked up off the ground; they did not
seem in the least offended or carry on pestering if you just said "No
Fabulous hotels, astonishingly cheap, good quality
fresh food and the booze was pretty reasonable even in hotels, particularly
considering this is a Muslim country. Bizarrely, Spanish brandy (in
the shops) was cheaper here than in Spain, as were Cuban cigars, and tobacco
generally was mind-numbingly cheap; Marlborough at about €1 a packet-makes
you realise how much tax we pay!
One of the downsides of an ancient civilisation
which has in its time been visited by tourists, crusaders, invaders and
every other kind of welcome or unwelcome travellers, is that it has had plenty of
time to collect its clichés.