On the slope of Jabal al-Madhbah, in the Valley of Moses (Wadi Musa), lies the ancient city of Petra. When Nabataeans took over the city from Edomites and made it into the capital of their kingdom, the city gained status as it stood at one of the most important trade routes in Arabia. Caravans passed through Petra, carrying spices and textiles from Arabia to Syria, allowing the city to collect taxes from traders. The Nabataeans also developed their own extraordinary water system, which enabled the city to flourish even during prolonged periods of drought. Petra continued to prosper after Romans took over and eventually declined due to the change in trade routes. The earthquakes that devastated the whole area also brought the Rose City to ruin. It was not until 1812 that Petra was revealed to the Western World. Since then, the site has not lost its spotlight and historical importance as it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. It is also the most visited tourist attraction in Jordan. This is a must-visit site if you happen to be in Jordan!
Before coming to Jordan, I tried to browse through a number of profiles in CouchSurfing and see if there are any interesting locals I would like to meet. When it comes to Jordan, though, I took an extra precaution in choosing a host to stay with. The amount of men registered on this site with a wrong purpose alarmed me. I encountered many profiles with negative references. After all, this is an Arab country with an Arab culture. They are not used to hanging out with women or having women sleeping in their homes. This is not their culture to say the least. Compared to Turkey and Iran, choosing an open-minded host with true travel spirit in Jordan proved to be difficult.
Stepping my foot in an airport named after the late Queen of Jordan, Alia al-Hussein, brings back a lot of childhood memories. This is the airport where I used to stay countless of hours on transit with my family on our way to other Middle Eastern countries. In the 90's — long before the existence of budget airlines -- Jordan used to be a getaway to neighbouring countries as its national carrier offered one of the best and cheapest price compared to other airlines. My family took advantage of it to travel to Palestine, Turkey, and Syria. Today, the fare of Jordanian Airlines may not be as cheap as Air Arabia or Fly Dubai, but it is still comparably cheaper than Emirates and the likes.
It’s been years since the last time I had a “major” trip. I did New Zealand during my last year in Australia. I did it as part of my official farewell to the continent. It was one of the most memorable trips that I had ever done. New Zealand’s natural beauty was not like any other places I had ever seen (mind you, I hadn’t explored Indonesia yet!). After that amazing trip, I vowed to myself that I would doRead more
I have always been very ignorant about the Palestinian and Israeli conflicts. I've kept my ears and eyes shut when it came to these issues. The problems that the two nations face are too complex involving years of pain, revenge, and anger, and a number of political parties, foreign countries, and the civilians. Every time I saw the Palestinians killed by the Israelis, my heart ached. Every time I saw the reports of expansion of settlements by the Israelis, myRead more
The world was stunned when King Hussein of Jordan, who was suffered from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, named his eldest son Abdullah his successor, replacing Abdullah’s half-brother Hamzah as crown prince. On 7 February 1999, Abdullah, who became a crown prince on 24 January, ascended the Jordanian throne shortly after the death of his father. His wife, then Princess Rania became the world’s youngest living queen at the age of 29. Just like her step-mother in law Queen Noor, she is knownRead more