We were quite excited to visit Amman, the capital city of Jordan. When you read about it online you see it as others do but you always wanna just go and experience everything by yourself. So we did. And what can we say, it was different than we thought.
There are more than 2 million people in Amman. Narrow streets, lots of cars, people driving like crazy and just chaotic traffic. We have rented the car just outside of Amman, with no GPS and we had no Internet to actually use it for navigation, so we had to use downloaded maps.
Navigating with downloaded maps is just fine when you don’t have a specific address you need to get to. When you have a specific place, it just does not work.
Discouraged with the map we downloaded earlier, we decided to stop at McDonald’s at the outskirts of the city to try to catch Wi-Fi and figure out where are we supposed to go. I stayed in the car and Josip was trying to figure out the way to our hotel.
After 20 minutes Josip was back – but not alone.
He found some guy on the parking lot who was not speaking English at all and somehow they managed to understand each other. We hoped that he would tell us the directions to the hotel but instead he sat down on the drivers seat and started driving, while I panicked a bit at that moment.
Imagine that – you are in foreign country, not speaking the language, some guy you don’t know is driving you “to the hotel” (cause how did we know where he was taking us, anyway?), he is speaking Arabic on the phone and driving like a there is no tomorrow, at least in our eyes. Josip had my nails buried in his arm the whole time.
The whole story ends happily – he actually took us to the hotel which we couldn’t find between super small streets and many corners so the owner had to get into the car with us and tell us where to go. The driver turned out to be a nice guy, he had a son somewhere in the city center so it was convenient for him to go with us.
Josip actually told me afterwards that he told him where we needed to go (I still don’t understand how), and that he agreed to take us there, but he thought he will sit in the passenger seat and give us directions on where to go. Instead of that, we got ourselves an adventure.
Josip gave him 10 kn as a gift so he can remember us and this little excapade. We were relieved when we parked the car (we had to pay 5 or 10 JOD for the parking lot, which is ridiculously too much + we were supposed to have free parking, but we didn’t have strength to fight). At that time, I really just wanted a shower, food and bed. We were tired after driving from the early morning from Petra and we still had salt on us after swimming in the Dead Sea. And here, unfortunately, we were very disappointed.
The hotel was located in a corner building. The stairs looked like they were going to fall apart with your next step and the hall turned out to be the owners bedroom.
I was tired and mad, but when we entered our room I just wanted to cry. The walls looked like nobody took care of them for a really, really long time. On the floor we found few strolling cockroaches (plus one in bed) and the worst was bathroom…
Interesting fact: they do not have baths or shower cabins like you can usually see in the West. They have a shower on the ceiling so when you turn on the water, it goes EVERYWHERE.
I was complaining about the bathroom in Aqaba (that one looked like they just started renovating it and were not finished) but the one in Amman was insufferable. The water was barely running, it was cold, the toilet was disgusting and the mirror looked like it would shatter only if I look at it funny.
I really was not expecting something like this, and I had to take photos. If you ever go to Amman, look carefully when you’re booking hotels because you really do not want to come to a place like this. As you can see (I’m so sorry for such horrible pictures!):
After this experience, we met with our Jordanian friend which was perfect for us after such a long and eventful day. We didn’t have much time but he managed to take us to his favorite place for Shawarma. It was super delicious and after whole day on the road it tasted like heaven.
We also tried Beduinian tea with cinnamon while we were in a local pub having fun and smoking Jordanian Narghile. We had a blast with our friend Salem, who was a great host and told us many things about Jordan we didn’t know.
Amman is definitely a very specific place. We were glad we survived everything it had for us, we saw a small part of the city, tried local food. In regards of coming back here… I don’t know, probably not, at least for now.
Have you been to Jordan? Tell us how was your experience with this city!
Stay tuned and follow our footprints!