The gem of the Middle East, Jordan, is one destination that is on the bucket-list for many people from all over the world. After all, who in their right mind would not want to float in the Dead Sea, walk amidst the historical lanes of Petra or be one with the Martian landscape of Wadi Rum. This post is not about the top attractions or top things to do in Jordan, but it is about some random things that I learnt or came across while I was on my Jordan holiday. I hope they make for some interesting reading and may be offer some tips for your trip to Jordan.
1) The entire region of Aqaba is a duty free area. One even doesn’t need visas to enter this place, which is why it is extremely popular with tourists coming from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel.
2) Massive watermelons can be found growing in the dry Wadi Rum desert. These watermelons are super sweet too. This is very surprising for a land that is hot and dry.
3) Jesus was baptized in Jordan and not in Jerusalem. In fact, a lot of Christianity's roots can be found in Jordan, including the map of the holy land.
4) Both the Dead Sea and the Jordan river that fills it up are drying up at a rapid pace. These days, the Jordan river is like a tiny stream. It is believed that if this keeps going on, we might not see the Dead Sea any more in the near future.
5) The men of Jordan love to smoke. Be it traditional hookah (sheeshah) or the modern cigarette, you will find the Jordanian men never too far away from their smokes.
6) The Medjoul dates of Jordan are possibly one of the biggest varieties of dates and are incredibly soft and delicious.
7) A lot of Roman history and ruins can be found in Jordan. In fact, archaeologists are still discovering more ancient sites. These could be anything ranging from the Byzantine, Ottoman, Greek or Roman era.
8) The Royal automobile museum near Amman shows the regal family’s penchant for automobiles, especially the uber luxury ones.
9) Like Egypt, the Red Sea off Aqaba is also home to some stunning coral reefs, marine life and wreck sites and that is why Jordan is quite a popular destination on the scuba diving and snorkelling map.
10) Locals still practice the ancient art of creating mosaics using colorful pieces of stone at Madaba. There are even schools to facilitate learning of this gorgeous art form.
11) For a country that is home to desert and arid land and is surrounded by some of the driest terrain in the world, Jordan’s capital Amman is surprisingly cool and pleasant all through the year.
12) Even though Jordan is a meat lover’s paradise, vegetarians and vegans will be spoilt for choice here as this country has many local specialties in addition to the Mediterranean cuisine that is easily available here.
13) There is a train track that runs from Turkey to Jordan. It doesn’t carry passengers, but it is used to carry goods. The most popular form of transport in Jordan is road, followed by air.
14) The bedouins of Wadi Rum are creators of many rare types of perfumes, soaps and clothing accessories.
15) Rainbow street in Amman is famous for late night car honking and hooliganism.
16) The Scottish bagpipe is a popular musical instrument in Jordan. In fact, there are some who believe that this musical instrument originated in Jordan and Oman before finding its way into Europe.
17) People drive on the right side of the road and overtake from the left like most of Europe.
18) People of Jordan love their candy and nuts. Huge crowds can be seen at popular establishments.
19) As Jordan shares a long border with Israel, one can easily spot the Israeli army, Isreali flag and buildings on the other side at places such as Aqaba, Al-Maghtas and the dead sea.
20) It is just a short boat ride from Egypt to the Aqaba side of Jordan, offering it extremely close proximity to the African mainland.