Losing ourselves in Amman.
Amman Travel Blog› entry 112 of 251 › view all entries
June 18th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
The hotel’s map lacked any sort of detail, which made finding Downtown challenging for us. We climbed up and up, when it turns out we should have been going down and down (guess they were being literal when they named it downtown). Finally we found ourselves in front of the landmark Grand Hasayni Mosque. You can always tell where the mosques are, not just for their distinctive architecture -- there are always loads of shoes out front, too.
One thing that surprised me during our walk was the number of local people with blue eyes and olive skin, which really is a surprising combination.
So anyway, back to Jordan. After the souks, we decided to walk towards the Citadel. Some police officers pointed us in the right direction, and along the way we ran into the Roman Theatre (built in 2nd century). The “bleachers” are cut right into the side of one of Jordan’s many stony hills. What’s amazing about this place is that it’s still actively used as a venue for concerts! In fact, they were setting up a stage with speakers, lights and a piano for a big concert tomorrow night.
There were two museums to explore there, of moderate interest: The Folklore Museum and The Museum of Popular Tradition. The guards were smoking, of course. Around old textiles! Amazing. Smoking is allowed EVERYWHERE here, and people exercise that privilege on a near constant basis.
From the Roman Theatre, we wanted to go to the Citadel, which was close but couldn’t be seen.
Getting down from the Citadel proved just as difficult as getting up. After searching high and low for a “nice” path, we ended up walking through the same trash heap, where I nearly lost my footing twice. By the time I got to the bottom I was a little cranky. Then we found a cab driver, who didn’t know where our hotel (one of the city’s largest) was, and then couldn’t read the paper we gave him that had the hotel name on it. Sign language was attempted, to no avail. He finally just stopped after a couple blocks to let us off, and Steve gave him 2JD for his trouble, which made me even crankier.
From there we had the idea of finding this nice lunch spot listed on our map, called Wild Jordan Café. We seemed to be so near it! But we could not find it walking left, not walking right. So we walked up and we walked down. No luck. And I was starting to feel very conspicuous in my knee length skirt, which had caused stares and a few comments all day long (tomorrow I will wear pants). I asked for help from about five people, and no one could tell us where the café was, or where we were on the map. Oh, it was all a fruitless exercise. After what seemed like hours of searching and gawking at street signs (all in Arabic and nothing we could read no matter how hard we stared), we finally just found a taxi to bring us back to the hotel. We ate at one of the hotel’s many restaurants, where I had a nice bowl of carrot soup that didn’t even make me feel sick.
Back in the room, I studied the Lonely Planet map (which we didn’t bring with us today), and it was actually helpful! It turns out we had walked right past the Wild Jordan Café earlier in the day, so I thought we would be able to retrace our steps and go there for dinner. And we did indeed find it this evening, and it was worth the wait: very modern and cool, with outdoor seating (the evenings are so pleasantly cool!) and a nice view. There were plenty of vegetarian options, but I just couldn’t eat the cheese sandwich I ordered. My stomach problem makes everything seem unpalatable. I really enjoyed my banana smoothie though, and it actually made a fine dinner.
So it was a very good day here in Amman. We both like this city! Which is kind of odd because there seems a dearth of cafes and “hanging out” places in our neighborhood (kind of the other side of the spectrum from, say, Paris), there is too much smoking, and the architecture is not particularly special… I guess it’s the friendly faces and the fact that we feel so welcome here that are attractive? The cool evenings are a bonus, too. And the sun setting over the rolling hills is something I could look at every evening. Anyway, I am really looking forward to the coming days, and I am really happy to have chosen Jordan for a longer (10 day) stay!
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!