The Tunisia-Jordan flight was my second flight during my tour around the world. The first flight was from Great Britain to Spain (you know there is sea in between). The meals given during flight of Royal Jordan is pretty good. I even got surprised by metallic fork and knives given for meal. Did they start to give metallic knives and forks at airways?
The flight was very pleasant for me. If you ask why, because after lunch I fell asleep… As I woke up the plain was about to landing. Let’s see how Jordan is like.
As I got out of the bellow, it’s understood that I’ve reached to Arabian Peninsula. The carpet they’ve spread out to bellow would make you believe that your plane actually landed to a palace. I can say Amman Airport is pretty luxurious. Let me change one of my 100$ before I start to passport procedure. There must be some cash on me when I get in to country. I’ve handed the 100$ to the man and he gave me back only 72 dinars. I made an head gesture like “ Is this all ?! “. He confirmed and a curse from me came up right after that.. ” What the fffff…………….!!! ”
1 Dinar is 3.3 TL! Oh my god I’m done!
I grumbled and moved to passport line. They’ve set up the machine that photographs your retina. To be honest, if those men didn’t talk Arabic, I could easily say that our plane landed somewhere else. At the Amman Airport which our plane landed at 8:00pm, chief clerk from our embassy meets me and we’re heading to embassy. This is also where I’ll stay until I get my Saudi Arabian visa. Syria on the north side, Iraq on the East side, Israel to the west and there’s Saudi Arabia in the South. I also can pass to Egypt from the south of Jordan by ship but I left aside the Egypt for now.
I’m asking a few questions to Halil about the country while we’re on our way to the city. First I asked him the trade, underground resources, what they were producing etc. I asked all these stuff because if you have that kind of money you have to be producing something for all these to make sense right ??
Actually Jordan is really a union of nations. When the war broke up in Iraq, wealthy people of the country packed their bags and settled to Amman. Same story about the war in Syria. Palestinian people who escaped from the conflict between Palestine and Israel are also here in Jordan. Saudi Arabic wealthy, entertainment freak people are here in Jordan too. Well, what are they doing in here? According to my impressions on Amman, nothing. Amman city is built on 7 hills. I haven’t seen anybody traveling by bicycle. Because it’s nearly impossible to find a proper flat ground. Jordan is a country which is under protection of the governments that supports Israel. The reason for that is the fact that the longest land border of the area is between Israel and Jordan. Jordan is a buffer zone. There are no water, natural gas or petrol in this country. A small amount of phosphate mineral down south. Water provided from the pits of south is being carried to Amman city by a 300 km of pipeline. This project is finished few years ago by Turkish engineers and Gama corporation. Even after the project, the city reaches to water for particular days of the week. Each house has it’s own water tank. Before this project, they had water for only one day of the week. You can understand what does it mean lacking of water only when there isn’t a place around to find it. The country income is %80 on service industry. A factory’s electricity costs are too high so they didn’t build one. I want to share a detail that I’ve heard from the policeman of embassy during our small talks.
-Mr. Gürkan, yes the country is expensive but I also want to add this; In Turkey you pay 20 TL electricity bill per month for an empty house. An empty house! As you see I’m here.. But in Jordan I pay 30 TL for 3 months electricity.
As a result of the country’s economy is based on service industry, they are better at clean environment compared to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. I do not say it’s clean but just better.
In Amman, I needed to buy a replacement part for Garmin GPS. There is a Garmin store. I had to buy some Sony products, I found it’s store too. There are also stores of good brands for my bicycle. Every brand name came to my mind has a store and there are also big shopping malls here in Amman. The last time that I’ve found whatever I want was in Spain and now Amman.
As I saw exactly where I was on the map I said; “ yeah, I can go to Palestine”.. Israel is controlling the border of Jordan. I filled up a form for visa request. But there’s a little problem. If you go to Palestine, also you go to Israel too, automatically. I mean they put on your passport. If this procedure is done, I can’t go to Saudi Arabia. Although I am not sure about will I make it to go in Saudi Arabia or not. They are not willing to lead tourists in during the Hac period. However I tried to choose the right dates for this area to go to Hac. In spite of the Foreign Ministry had noted that, they weren’t concerned with this issue. Even we went to Saudi Arabia Embassy with Mr Halil one day. Although he introduced himself as a vice consul they didn’t let us in. The front office said “Get an appointment!” Well you don’t pick up any phone. Besides how dare you don’t let people in. Same situation happened in Tunisia too, they don’t pick up any phone. They get a duty as don’t pick up any phone because of millions of people are calling during the Hac period. I will get the visa!! Keep trying.
I went to this area in Amman which is called old town. They called old town but places are remaining from 1930’s or 40’s. I can say that they don’t have such a past. But there is a big amphitheatre from Ancient Rome. I think it is used actively today.
As far as I am concerned if there will be properly excavations, lots of historical artifacts will come up. Eat in Jerusalem restaurant which is in the downtown. It is shed-like and food is delicious, also it is clean. There are few restaurants more on the street; you can see them when you walk into cross streets. I can say that I tried all. Don’t worry. They are proud of ‘Künefe’.
There is a sweetshop called Habiba, you see a line in front of the shop especially at nights. First time I saw a Künefe line. Let’s eat, see how it is? Nope! I don’t like this area’s ‘Künefe’ who ate the king of ‘Künefe’ (in Mersin and Adana). First of all I don’t know which oil they use but it is very heavy. Moreover I like eating dessert with syrup but it choked me and I didn’t like it. Also so much cheese in it. There are also semolina desserts. They roast it in butter, they do same in Turkey but I like taste in here.
It is little bit hard; you eat with a crackling sound. Falafel is the well-known snack. Ha, also they have sesame paste meet boll. I like its presentation more than its taste. They like putting sauce top of the foods, it couldn’t escape my notice. I found a flaky to eat on mornings. They strew thyme on it when it is hot from the oven and then strew sesame and then spread some olive oil on it.Then they put in oven again for short time. I like it.
Yes, lets come to what draw my attention in this country.
First of all I didn’t go to two important cities, which are in the north side of the country, by bike. Me and Halil travelled together in his off day. Even he works at embassy for years and his Arabic is very good, he couldn’t go to this area because of his work. We went to Salt City together which Yavuz Sultan Selim and Mustafa Kemal had been in this universe part in past.
Wherever you go in Jordan people keep saying this is Ottoman castle, that is Ottoman village, this Ottoman thing etc. In real, most of them didn’t built in Ottoman period. Even though people say Salt City is an Ottoman city, it is not. This city had been used during Macedonia and Roman Empire, destructed by Mongolian and rebuilt by Memluks. When 16th centuries Ottoman conquered this city, they used it as the capital of Acun area. Anyway, I leave aside this history lesson; let’s get to our main issue. Salt city may be count as an important one for Jordan, of course this is my personal opinion. It doesn’t mean that you’ll see it in touristic commercials or magazines of Jordan. The most beautiful old bazaar you can visit in whole country is in this city ! During Ottoman Empire some parts of the cities architecture changed. You can see this kind of architecture anywhere else in Jordan.
There is also a little museum in the city. It’s a pretty successful museum for the city with a small problem.. They forgot to put something in it ! There is only a picture of Ottoman governor and one or two artefacts.. I didn’t come to this city to see its bazaar or empty museum. We drove through upside of the town.
There is a cemetery in front of the insecure buildings and beside the cemetery there is a Turkish flag. First I passed by abounded and grass covered thumb stones and overlooked the city. War line and shields have to be at this point. When I turned around there is apex. Approximately 40 meters higher. After that I looked at the flag and walked to the front door of walled area. Meanwhile I remembered a letter which was written by one of my team members and I smiled:
“He is such a good guy when he sits near a lake which is somewhere and says “Oh my god, I make it.”, he remembers everyone to see or meet. He has long-term memory to don’t forget his family, friends, fun and people who make comment for his chronicles when he enjoys his success.”
We have to remember these areas. Their names are in front of me one by one. You look at those big names and their cities which were written by black letters on the white marble. Ankara, Bursa, Manisa, Balıkesir, Denizli, Nevşehir, Çanakkale…
I had visited their fellow soldiers in Azerbaijan, South Korea, Japan, Swedish, and Germany. I am sure that I will never forget places such this. Salt Turkish war graveyard.
This is the most well-kept graveyard that I’ve seen both on my travels to Europe and Arabian countries.The museum built by Turkish General Staff in the graveyard is far more rich in property, artefacts and visuals and is instructive compared to Salt city museum built by Jordan government.
The truth of history is written on these walls!! But those truths are only written in Turkish. there must be Arabic and English translations of the writings.
There is not only a war graveyard but a museum. A part of the Ottoman Empire is laying there. It’s doors must always be wide open in day time. I don’t accept the idea of making a phone call to get somebody there to open us the doors and the usage of the place as that’s a detached house.
Jordan government must talk to Ministry of Tourism and guide the tourists to that spot.
Ottoman army had many losses in Arabian Peninsula during First World War. The ones who read the history of that area knows that all those martyrs are soldiers and officers from Ottoman army bearer company.
While bearer company were falling back through split fronts during first world war, they came to this point of Salt city. While defending their line, village people attacked the Ottoman army from behind. The reason is obvious, they wanted to fight against Arabian who were upraised under leadership of Ottoman soldier Şerif Hüseyin. You can reach the information about how the Ottoman soldiers shot from their behind by searching the archives of the museum in war graveyard. After falling of the front soldiers were laidon top of each other . They’ve turned this place to a garbage dumb. Two researchers from Turkey found our soldiers in that garbage dump and after a long working process graveyard become what it’s like today. Another information I get from our attaché ( not recorded in Turkish Armed Forces) is about Jordan nation flag. Jordan flag which symbolizes areas Arabic freedom against Ottoman became official in the year 1928. As you see, there is an effort to relax things a bit. For today we have good relations both commercially and cultural. But is ask Jordan people what their flags meaning is, a lot of they probably cannot answer. Here’s a question that had been asked to me while I was traveling around by my bicycle:
– “ Why are the Turks doesn’t like Arabians ? “ If they ask you this question, it means that you’re most probably being tested. Almost everyone who asks this question knows what they have done to Ottoman soldiers and how they execute the injured ones in history. I’ll learn more about that while traveling the villages.
Let’s talk about inner city transportation. I never took a bus in Amman. I always preferred taxi. A lot of ups n downs in this city and the traffic sucks. I didn’t use but I’ll give some information so you won’t be cheated when you come here:
If you take a cab you’ll pay maximum 3 Dinars for longest distance. But if the driver understands that you’re a foreigner, he’ll want 5 or 10 Dinars from you.
- From Amman to Akabe by taxi 100 Dinars, by bus 9 Dinars.
- From airport to Amman city centre 20 Dinar in the morning, 25 Dinar in the evening.
- From Amman to Dead Sea by taxi 40 Dinars. It takes you there, waits for 2 hours and takes you back.
- If you go there by bus it leaves you far away from a place to swim. If you want to go back with all those salt on your skin, the price is 5 Dinars. There is also a thing they call “ Jet Bus “, it works only on Fridays and that’s 15 Dinars.
I stayed at the Sydney Hostel in the city centre. They always send messages to people who make booking in Tarık Hostel which is one of the partners. It is 25 dinar from airport to city centre. But some “smart” people think they can make it less. Actually they can’t come less than 40 J Also there are some alternatives for people to want to see around by taxi. But everyone gets cheated and go back and talk about at the hostel J there are lots of written information about how tourists get cheated by local people on internet and in books. So, tourists have prejudgment when local people talk about money. I am cycling in this area for 3 months and that’s why I trust Tarık and Dia who work at Sydney Hostel.
Is there only bus or car in this country? Yes, there is. Although the country had had one of the longest railways, they have not been doing about it in recent. Because of lack of good care and interest sand covers all of the railways.
I went to the station of Hicaz Railway in Amman. They turned it to a small museum and photos, things of those days are exhibited. Also there are Turkish soldiers’ photos. I think we don’t have these old records. Some buildings of station are still stand. I walked on the railways and entered one of the wagons. I looked around when I walked through the corridor. If you have more time in Amman you must visit this area. Sometimes in summer train go to a near town for touristic show. Maybe you come upon these days, who knows?