Amman, My First Impression
Here I am. Arrived in Amman, the capital of Jordan after spending almost ten hours flying from Entebbe, without mentioning long hours transit time in Istanbul. I decided to come to the country, finally, after so many thoughts, considering what’s happening in neighboring countries. Not once I checked through Tripadvisor concerning the last situation of the country, is it safe enough for female solo traveler like me? And suddenly, I remembered one of my old friends, Ayoub, that I met in Kinshasa is Jordanian. I immediately wrote an email to him about my plan to come to Jordan. He answered in the next one hour. “Sister, Jordan is totally fine. You will love it”. I booked my return ticket to Amman.
I was half sleeping when I went out from the plane. The first thing I did was to change my dollars to Jordanian Dinar (1 JD is equivalent to 1,5 USD) to get my Visa on Arrival at immigration gate. A man who was working there saw my photos many times before putting a stamp on my passport. However, he did not give my passport immediately.
“Hmm. First time in Jordan? With whom are you travelling?” he asked me. From his voice I could think that he tried to make it as polite as possible.
“Alone,” I answered. He looked at me again astonishingly. I didn’t blame him. I am pretty sure that he did not see so many female solo travelers using hijab as I am.
“What are you going to do in Jordan,” he asked again.
“Travelling and visiting friends” I replied. I started worrying and ready to call Ayoub if he did not allow me to pass this gate. Calling Ayoub in the middle of the night was only the last option considering that he’s living in Medaba, another city around one hour driving from Amman. We agreed that we’re going to meet in the next weekend since he will work during the week.
“Oh good, then. You have friends, here,” He smiled at me. “Enjoy your vacation and welcome to Jordan. Oh, and by the way, always be careful sister. Since you’re alone,”
My worries were suddenly gone. Perhaps, he asked me so many questions due to his concern of my safety, wandering around by myself in foreign land.
“Thanks, Brother. Good bye,” I got my passport and gave him the best smile that I could give.
I saw a man standing in front of arrival gate, handing a big paper with my name on it. He must be from Sydney Hotel, where I am going to stay during my stay in Amman. Tarikh, the receptionist was there waiting for my arrival and greeted me nicely when I arrived. I was really tired and sleep was the only thing that I wanted to do. I almost didn’t hear when Tarikh told me about breakfast time. Once I closed my door, I changed my clothes, went to the bed and slept like a baby.
I wake up, eight hours later when I got short messages from Anette and Jihan through Whatsapp. I never met both of them in real. A week before, knowing that I’m going to Amman, my friend Saputra told me that he has friends in Amman and introduced me to these two ladies. We agreed to meet up once I arrived in Amman.
After having shower and felt so fresh, I went out from my room for the breakfast. It was almost 10 am in the morning. Tarikh and one European man which was busy with his laptop were the only people that I saw on that time.
“So, where are you going today,” Tarikh asked friendly.
“I’m going to visit Citadel, Roman Theatre and Tajj Mall,”
“Tajj Mall?” It’s a bit far. If you want to buy something, there are some shops around,” Tarikh explained.
“No. I don’t want to buy anything. I’m going to see friends there,”
Tarikh gave me map of Amman that I could use, in case I get lost while wandering. He also wrote something in Arabic on some papers of post it.
“Give this to taxi driver. Not many of them could speak English fluently. Use this one if you want to go to Citadel, this one for Roman Theater and the last one is for Tajj Mall. Remember, do not pay more than 4 JD to Tajj Mall. The rest, you can just pay 1,5-2 JD for one way,”
It was not difficult to find Citadel. The first taxi driver I met asked me to get in the car once I show him post it written by Tarikh. He even didn’t tell me how much the cost was. When I said, “2JD?” he immediately opened his car for me.
Citadel was a focus human settlement, located on the top of the hills since Paleolithic Age, approximately 18,000 years ago. When Romans moved to the city, they cleared away whatever they found caused bronze Age, Iron Age an Hellenistic pottery had been found mixed with Roman remains. Some remains surviving today, including Umayyad Palace and Temple of Hercules with its massive dramatic columns. Due to its huge space, I will write particular writing about Citadel in other post.
After spending almost three hours in Citadel, I went to Roman Theater, located in the downtown of Amman. It is impressively huge with steep steps climb to the top. The structure was built between 169 and 177 AD, during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
I didn’t spend so much time here. After one hour, I went to Tajj Mall to meet Jihan and Anette and tried sisha for the very first time.
My first impression to Amman:
- The city is beautiful with good roads and also traffic jam.
- People are friendly and helpful.
- Public buses do not cover whole city area. Therefore, taxi is the best options to wander around and it becomes expensive compared to the bus.
- Amman is surrounded by the hills. For people who are not doing exercise regularly like me, it could be exhausted to walk around, especially during summer