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.