So we arrive at our final few days in Jordan and we spent it in the capital Amman in the historical Jabal district in the centre of the city. Luckily we had found a stunning place to stay and a great host. Amman is an incredible city built on a hilly valley. These hill are steep and on such hills the city’s homes are built. On every horizontal road there are strategically located stairs to bring you up or down to the next level, as you require. Our accommodation was in the old part of the city just on the horizontal between Rainbow street, with its restaurant’s, bars and night life, and the market street below. The property was entered through a door at street level and on descending a few steps we arrive in a beautiful court yard with views out over the city. This courtyard discreetly houses a number of apartments, again on different levels, and all for short term holiday lets, well worth a visit. Our first task was to find a supermarket and get some provisions. It was dark but we were just off a well lit and busy street so figured it was safe enough to go out and explore a little. It always takes a while to get your bearings and get a feel for a new place and its a little more difficult to do that after dark. We left by the gate and headed up an almost vertical street. My lungs were well tested and I was glad that I had quite the fags, so I was gasping and took it nice and handy, stopping every now and then to admire the view and catch my breath. You honestly would not believe how steep these hills were but on we went anyway. We made it up the top of the hill. The street was busy with couples and families strolling along looking for restaurants or stopping at ice cream parlours or coffee shops. Most of the women, young and old, wore a hijab which just covered the hair leaving the face exposed. This was our first night out on our own since arriving in Jordan and again I have to state I could not see any expressions of oppression on the faces of any of the women I passed. What struck me most was the easy relaxed atmosphere of people out for an evening just like at home, less the silly drunks (which is a typical feature of an Irish night out). But we are so indoctrinated by media in the west telling us that women who wear the veil are being forced to do so rather than choosing to do so. I really am starting to reassess all my preconceived notions. If nuns for instances were forced to remove their veil would that be acceptable and viewed as freeing them from their oppressive and dogmatic religious values?
We walked along the street for some distance and finally found the supermarket. Super it was not! It would have been akin to your small country store and not what I would have expected in a city this size. That’s another revelation, once outside the E.U, you don’t find a Lidl nor Aldi, or Tescos and not forgetting native Dunnes. We have become so used to these homogeneous super stores with more produce than most cities can consume. Okay, yes I miss my super store, where everything is in one place but just allow me a middle ground. We walk the one isle looking for some food stuffs to bring back to the apartment but the range is very limited. We can buy a very small jar of instant coffee, no self respecting Jordanian would drink such crap its only for the tourists. We find eggs. The cheese in the fridge compartment was like Easi singles, even at home I wouldn’t touch the stuff. I am very confused by the very limited stock. Since arriving in Jordan, all of the food we have been offered has been excellent in taste and quality so this shop has baffled me. We buy the few familiar things in the shop. There’s no beer only fruit juices, although alcohol is not prohibited in Jordan it is prohibitively expensive. Its also not a tipple for your average muslin so most outlets don’t carry alcohol. You can get alcohol in most fashionable restaurants but its not to be expected. We head back to our apartment and as we step out of the store we discover that the super market we were looking for was directly opposite...lesson learned, when following google maps do a 360 turn. Still even in this store there’s no comparison to what you would expect at home. This store was on par with the local country village corner shop you would be familiar with at home. It had 4 aisles and so more variety but still nothing on scale to our stores at home. We bought a few more bits and headed back to the apartment. When we got there I made myself a coffee and had some biscuits while Roisin had a lovely bottle of fizzy apple juice. Before heading off to bed, I put the few dishes used into the sink with the intention of washing them in the morning. I will pay for that slothfulness later.
Read Amman Part two by clicking the button below!
Hi, I'm Olive and I am the writer of this blog. I am traveling the world with my 22 year old daughter, Róisín, who has just graduated University. I wanted to document this journey because it is unusual for a woman of 58 years old to go on adventure that most students do on a gap year. I will try to share my insights into this epic journey with you along the way and maybe inspire more people my age to go on these crazy adventures too.