When I stepped out of the taxi in front of the hotel, I was surrounded by the ecstatic aromas coming from different shops; but the most overpowering one was the shisha, the flavored tobacco’s scent. Yet, another scent going around was the spicy Arabian perfumes. It felt as if the various fragrances were hugging my lungs creating a calming effect on my mind. I already fell in love with this place. The vibrating Amman, Jordan, was inviting me with open arms.
Being drunk with joy helped me keep my head cool after giving more attention to the details of my hotel complex and to realize that I have been hustled. The place indeed was similar to the ones from the pictures, but those pictures were most likely taken at least 10 years ago. I was, in a way, scared for my health and security, although the odd feeling was severely reduced, after meeting the people working there. I have never met such kind-hearted men before, this made a balanced overview. The man from the front desk has even given me a map with the center city and marked for me several places where I could eat.
It was quite late when I rambled out on the streets, it was dark, and in a way, it looked scary with all kinds of garbage lying around. Nevertheless, the shisha fragrances were still in the air which eased my anguish. The shawarma bar was small and colorful, but the taste of the shawarma was indescribable; moist, smokey, crunchy wrapped in a type of flatbread sided with fires, pickled vegetables, and a lemony garlic paste. I have to admit, the whole trip was already worth it!
The next day, I went on wandering around downtown, and outside of it, I visited famous places and archeological sites… and I got confused. Dear Reader, let me explain to you why this mess is in my head, maybe if I put them down on paper will help me to see through the situation.
The historical sites were so well preserved and maintained, no scattered garbage on the sights. It was true leisure walking there and taking pictures without a worry that a stray plastic bag would spoil the view. They do care about their historical past if they keep it so neat for curious travelers. However, I may have to mention the fact that the ticket for non-locals was pricier than the one for locals. But I happily paid, seeing that they do use that money wisely. After this pleasing description, the Reader may think that they proceed the same with the old downtown, but one must be mistaken, this wish is far from being fulfilled, because downtown, which as well is a historically important part of the city, is just the opposite.
Walking through streets in the heart of the city, I saw spilled garbage cans, no or slight recycling means, car over car over car… Ecologically, it seemed that they were living as if tomorrow was granted, not thinking about the consequences where this type of living could lead. Nevertheless, I have to underline that the streets were cleaned in the morning by busy workers, but that did not last long. Later, walking next to the farmer’s market, all I saw on the ground was spoiled and mashed vegetables and fruits, it broke my heart. But, they were living mainly a bio life, using ingredients from the farmer’s market; the seeds, coffee, teas, or spices could be bought from special stores served in a requested quantity in paper bags. We need more stores like these, to see how they burn the seeds and coffee grains in front of you. The feeling of playing with your senses could be a key element.
Traveling to the other parts of the city, where skyscrapers may scare you, I could witness that they recycle sedulously, not a single misplaced bag or paper on the scene. I entered the Mall which was on sight, it was spacious and well organized, but most importantly it was so clean that I would not be frightened to sit on the floor. Outside, workers almost religiously go around to clean the streets. This part was one of the richest sections, but after consulting with a friend I visited the more Western-type area, which took my breath away from its architectural beauty, I felt I was walking in a European country. I was bewitched.
So many types of architectural buildings with overwhelming beauty and structure towered above me. Amman had numerous faces. But do you want to know more, my dear Reader? This is not all! The whole country creates a parallel, the north being covered with green mountains and the presence of the Dead Sea, whereas the south is a red desert…
But I have to stop here, my phone is ringing, it’s my mom.
“Hello, Mother!” I said after picking up the loud phone.