After Egypt and bakeesh left, right and centre, we understood that tipping in Jordan was appreciated but not obligatory.
Our driver kept telling us Jordan was expensive and, I may have misunderstood, petrol was 1JD a litre - whereas it is half a JD. When we left one JD for our guide at Jerash, he was offended, asked if we knew what it was and gave it back! He wasn't even that good and spoke in a monotone. We said we had to change money. In Australia that was about 1.40 A$ so more in US $. Our driver said we should have left 5 JD which we felt excessive! And in Petra where we would have a guide for maybe 3 hrs, we should leave JD 15!!
We had a conversation with a German lady who had given the Jerash guide 2JD only to be told it wasn't enough! She was left with a bad feeling.
At Petra we had a good guide for 21/2 hrs and gave him JD 12, he didn't comment so hope we didnt' over tip, but it was just him and us.
We agonised over what to leave our driver for 6 days and felt that 80JD was much more than we would normally give but it was a personalised service. We haven't heard from him so maybe he is not happy!
This was a weird experience because total strangers would say Welcome to Jordan!
There are many barber shops in every town I visited in Jordan. Like in North Africa, India, Oman, Turkey etc, I never had to shave whilst in Jordan.
It is always a nice experience to get a very smooth shave by these masters with the blade.
Coffee & Tea
Coffee (Turkish coffee) is a strong boiled brew of cardamom flavoured coffee. It is usually served in small cups. You have to inform the waiter how you sweet you like your coffee, as it is prepared with sugar. Let it settle before drinking, and do not drink the thick, muddy ‘sediment’.
Tea (shy) is sweet, often flavoured with mint and usually served in a glass.
There are many coffee shops in Downtown Amman, as well as the other places I visited in Jordan and as in Turkey, you see waiters delivering tee and coffee to shops.
I think Jordanian men are addicted to caffeine and nicotine :-)
Other than normal cigarettes the nargileh (hubbly-bubbly) is a very popular local custom.
You usually find these in coffee shops, where you can order a prepared water pipe, and a flavour of your choice.
It is a very relaxing and sociable experience.
Alcohol in Jordan
As Jordan is a predominantly Muslim country alcohol is not widely available in the country and its consumption is limited almost exclusively to tourists. Prices are very high and availability is restricted to expensive restaurants, up-market hotels and the occasional liquor store.
Beer appears to be the most popular alcoholic drink, with Amstel the most common and the best value. Amstel brew locally in Jordan though it's difficult to come across it on draught - mostly you'll be buying the canned version. Prices start from about 3JD in a liquor store, while in a hotel bar you could pay up to double that amount. Another beer to look out for is Petra, very strong at 8%, but delicious and easy to drink. It's available in a few hotels in Petra and also in Amman.
Jordan also produces a small number of wines. We tried a good number of these but none of them was exceptional.
The waterpipe, also called shisha is very popular in Jordan and you see people smoking it in cafes everywhere.
It's probaply the lack of alcohol that is partly due to it's popularity, but it is also a very social activity and even if i have never smokes cigarettes in my life, i do enjoy to smoke a shisha when i am in this part of the world.
The tobacco is very sweet as it is flavoured with fruit and it has less nicotine in it than an ordinary cigarette, so it's easy to smoke even for a person like me who is not used to nicotine.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
The hospitality is a real and important value in Jordan. Any invitation (other one than that purely commercial) must be handled as such.
To refuse a sincere invitation is possible, but be aware that it is necessary to respect your interlocutor by putting to it right and polite forms, which could be not so natural for a Westerner.Related to:
- Historical Travel
THE CAMEL - PART 2
OK. Let’s stay focused here people. Now for part 2 about the most useful, yet despicably foul animals in the world. For those keeping up, we are still on the Arabian Camel with 1 hump. That hump is were these guys store their food so to speak. They can live off their stored fat for week! When they do start to run out their hump droops to the side. I have never seen this, but I have also never been with nomads in the desert for weeks either.
So Mr. Camels can lose 40% of his body weight then just suck up 32 gallons (145 litres) of water to re-hydrate. Wow.
Then he has an inner eyelid, in addition to his outer, which protects the eyes from sandstorms while still letting in enough light to see where they are going. They have huge eyelashes on their outer eyelids to keep out sand and can even close their nostrils completely for the same purpose. The last bit? they have broad feet so they do not sink into the sand!
A few stats:
* Life span of about 50 years
* Gestation is 12 to 14 months
* Offspring are usually 1 at a time. 2 sometimesRelated to:
- Historical Travel
THE CAMEL - PART 1
Camels are know as the ‘Ships of the Desert’ and rightfully so. They can easily survive where other animals cannot. They are amazing strong, versatile, useful, but inherently vile and evil beasts. Just remember that they are foul tempered and will happily bite you and/or spit in your face. Just keep to the sides or rear and you will be fine. There are 2 kinds of camel – the Dromedary Camel (also known as the Arabian Camel) with 1 hump and the Bactrian Camel (or Asian Camel) with 2 humps. 90% of the world’s camels are Dromedaries and these are the ones you will find all over the Middle East.
How useful are they? They can carry 200 pounds (90 kilograms) of weight, walk 20 miles (32 kilometres) a day in the desert and go without water for over a week and without food for months! Their coats can be used for wool; you can drink their milk, eat the meat (tough!), make leather from their skin and burn their droppings for fuel. Very versatile indeed!Related to:
You too will be hungry during Ramadan
Good luck eating here during Ramadan. During daylight hours (starting before 6am), restaurants are shut down, and you'll be reduced to scavenging mini grocery stores or eating at tourist only places. Even if you want to respect the Muslim practice of not eating during daylight, which is a nice thing to do as a curtesy if for no other reason, you'll likely find yourself still scavenging at night for a place to eat. Because Ramadan is a family affair, families tend to eat at home after sundown. Restaurants may not open back up (again, except for the tourist ones), so getting a good meal could be tricky. I suggest carrying some snacks with you all the time in case you find yourself in need of fuel.
Local Currency of Jordan is Jordanian Dinnar or in short JOD.
Current rate (for the date of writing this tip) is:
1 JOD = 1.4 US $
1 JOD = 5.74 NIS (Israeli shekel)
If you want to exchange money you can do it both in the city of Eilat or at the Jordanian termonal. As far as i know the rate at the Jordanian side may be a bit better although if you go on a short trip and you dont take a high amount of money it doesnt really make a big difference.
King Abdullah II
You will see King Abdullah's beatific smile beaming down at you from posters all over Jordan. He gets everywhere, and on everything. You'll see King Abdullah in modern Western business suit, King Abdullah in traditional bedouin headdress, King Abdullah in local football kit, King Abdullah in army uniform with many medals of honor, King Abdullah in relaxed smart casual wear, and so on. He also seems to endorse everything Jordanian, like King Abdullah beaming at you from a giant stretched canvas of Kerak Castle.
He's highly respected in the country, and you will see pictures of him, his beautiful wife, and the rest of his family, including his deceased father, in homes and businesses all across the country, as well as on giant posters and placards in every town, village and cluster of huts in the desert. It's probably best not to say anything bad about him, not that it's illegal or anything. Jordan's a pretty free country, but you probably won't make any friends.
One day my driver, Jihad, a Muslim with a very obviously Muslim name, asked me if it was ok for him to take a detour, because his child had called in sick at school and he needed to be picked up. I said sure. The school was near Amman, out of the way in the countryside. As we approached it I felt it looked strangely familiar. As we entered the school gates I realised why: it was a Christian school.
"This is a Christian school", I said.
"I know", said Jihad, smiling.
It turns out that half the school is Muslim, and half Christian. All the kids, Christian and Muslim, were standing around wearing red hats and singing along to Jingle Bells in Arabic.
I stayed in Madaba, which has the largest Christian population in Jordan. Everyone I met, Christian and Muslim, was keen to point out that they all got along famously, and it did seem to be the case. While events elsewhere, in Israel and the rest of the Middle East, can work to drive a wedge between the two communities, they seem to want to live together as Arabs, rather than apart as Christians and Muslims.
Walking out of my door at 5am and hearing the calls to prayers from the Mosques, while opposite me was a shop selling alcohol and next door to that one selling sexy lingerie, told me that this wasn't a stereotypical Muslim country.
traditional dress code
This dress code is what women usually wear in Jordan and other Middle Eastern countries. Although, some women don't cover their hair with a head scarf, most of them do. It is advised to dress with modesty.
Men and women don't touch
It is very important to remember that men and women do not touch each other unless one is the parent or the spouse.
Some people have taken on western ways, but it is the custom that a woman not shake hands when meeting a man.Related to:
- Work Abroad
- Arts and Culture
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