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Petra • Beidha • Aqaba • Wadi Rum


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.

Politics aside, 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 thanks".

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.

Petra Beidha Aqaba

Wadi Rum

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© Jeremy Harrison 2005-2020