Notes of a Wanderer. How far East is from West – Jordan through the eyes of a woman

My fabulous Jordan

The decision to go on vacation in this country was born in an instant. The man whom I trust with all my soul, said a couple of phrases about Jordan, and I felt – I’m here! And I specifically did not even begin to wonder what the political situation there, the nature and weather, because I knew I would go no matter what. A place for a rest near Aqaba was chosen about the same – I saw the picture of extraordinary beauty of the sky over the local beach, and nothing else mattered. Do you think it’s frivolous? Well, I’ll tell you that we all need to turn off the logic and the mind and trust our hearts. All the most wonderful things in my life happened when I did just that. And when I flew to Jordan, I thought I was going on a fairy tale trip. It turned out that way – I assure you!

So here I am in Jordan. From the airport in Amman to Aqaba we were driven by a Jordanian driver, who spoke Russian with a degree of fluency. It turned out he had studied in Belarus, and his wife was Russian. He talked about her all the way there: how wonderful Sveta was, how delicious his soup was, etc., etc. When he called her, he invariably started the conversation with the words: “I love her”. Insanely touching.

While driving, we were stopped several times by the local “traffic cops. But never once checked our documents, even at customs checkpoints (and there are plenty of them, since Jordan shares borders with three countries – Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel). As soon as they heard the words “Russian,” they let us through without a word. Sometimes the driver didn’t even have to say that he was carrying Russians – the “cops” guessed it themselves, because our van smelled strongly of alcohol (not everyone could resist the duty free). The Jordanian police were sure to wave and smile charmingly. The Jordanians love the Russians. Why? For some reason they think we are similar to them in character. Temperament. Maybe. Anyway, when we heard Russian we smiled so sincerely and so amiably that it evoked a good feeling in return. It turned out that Russians in Jordan are welcome even in places where other tourists are not allowed. But the Americans are not liked here. And the British. If they stop their car – they will turn it upside down and check everything.

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The police

I still want to talk about them separately. There are a lot of them in the country. Almost like ours, but. Here the law-enforcers all have higher education (this is a prerequisite). And they don’t take bribes. As told by cab driver Rady, if you broke the rules, the policeman can just let you go, but he won’t take money because people will know about it (like the driver will tell a neighbor and the neighbor will tell somebody else – and the city is small, everybody knows each other) and then his name will be put in the database and he won’t get a job anywhere. I wish we had it like that! Many policemen stand at gunpoints. Or even near a huge Hummer with a machine gun on the roof. From what I understand, all these security measures are to keep out terrorists. The Jordanians are proud that their country is now one of the calmest and therefore do not relax. They put metal frames at the entrance to every hotel, for example… There is practically no crime in the country. It’s amazing, but you can leave your bag on the street and no one will touch it. Drop your wallet, come back – it’s still there. Unless the gypsies pick it up (and they are even here and the Jordanians don’t like them).

Water, gasoline, and more

Water is of great value here. After all, most of the country is desert. So a bottle of water would seem to be very expensive, but no – about 50-70 cents, which is exactly the same price as in our country. The Jordanians pay for utilities, including water for a family (of 5-7 people) for three months (they get a receipt once every 3 months, not monthly) for about. 50 dollars! That’s how the government took care of them. When they hear about our rates for communal services, genuinely surprised. Moreover, the average salary they have more than we do (not counting Moscow). Gasoline costs about $ 1 per liter. And again, even though there is no oil in Jordan. No oil, no gas, no other resources. “It’s amazing, in Russia you have everything! And you have plenty of water, and you pay many times more for it than we do!” – Every now and then exclaimed guide Mahmoud Wasef. And taxes, by the way, are about the same: Jordanians pay at the end of the year 12% of their earnings. The money goes exclusively to medical care and pensions.

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The highway through the desert from Amman to Aqaba was built about half a century ago. The road is just perfect. Not a single pothole in 400 kilometers. I even felt offended: when I travel from Moscow to Bryansk the same 400 km my car has to have its suspension repaired. And here – a desert, and here you have such a road! And all the road markings are highlighted from below, so, as in a computer game, you won’t get off the road even in the dark of the night. In general, it’s funny to watch as a Bedouin stops somewhere on the side of the road camping something like a tent and connects to some invisible outlet (in the ground, is it?) Mini fridge.

Women of Jordan

I could talk about them for hours. I will start, of course, with the clothes. I remember the first morning of my stay at the hotel, I went out to the pool in shorts and a T-shirt, and was stunned. There were sunbathing (if I can put it that way) girls, wrapped in black. And, some of them were wearing something like raincoats. They were spread out on the sunbeds, as if they were really sunbathing. The cloaks were wrapped in beach towels. Apparently to cover their shame, as one of the European guests joked. At that time their husbands and children were in bathing suits. It was like a forty-degree heat! Looking at the Jordanian women, taking off my shirt and “going bare” to my swimsuit was awkward. And I seriously thought for a long time about how I should take a dip in the pool. Maybe run out for another blouse? I was brought to my senses by two Europeans who “unscrupulously” came out in a thong (I at least had swimming shorts – I knew I was going to an Arab country).

Already at the seashore I was observing the Jordanians. They were swimming just like that, wrapped in their robes, but wearing …. masks and flippers. It looked very funny. But I must say that in the city of Aqaba (and my hotel was not far from it), many women walk almost like Europeans, only with their heads covered. There are some with their heads uncovered (apparently “fashionistas” who are from the capital, Amman). No one has ever thrown stones at them. At least not in my presence. In general, the Jordanians, as it seemed to me, are very tolerant people. There are no strict requirements for women’s clothing as such, and it is considered to be the choice of each lady and her husband. But most people adhere to tradition. And by the way, Jordanian women do not cover their faces. If you see a woman here who is so wrapped up that only a slit for the eyes is visible, it is a visitor from neighboring Saudi Arabia. And there just aren’t very tolerant. One of the men who came to Aqaba from Saudi Arabia, was very indignant when he saw a Russian girl (from Yekaterinburg) in a thong near the pool. It took a long time to explain something to the hotel staff, but he twisted his arms, saying it was her right. As a result, the “Arabian” took offense and didn’t even come out for dinner.

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The Jordanian men, of course, are fond of watching the European tourists. Or rather female tourists. Well, where else will they see such a show with exposed arms, legs and shoulders? And by the sea in general ….. At our beach club was probably two dozen guards, lifeguards, cleaners, etc. While there were about the same number of tourists swimming there. I think so – Jordanians worked there for free, just to look at women in thongs))). But what is interesting – they look somehow. not vulgar, but innocent and admiring. After their many glances do not want to immediately wash. But back to the women.

My guide explained to me that now it is difficult for women without higher education and work to get married. They don’t take them… So now 30% of women are working in Jordan (an unheard of figure for a country where this has never been accepted). And I was lucky enough to see a policewoman!

And by the way, Jordanians are allowed to have several wives. But not many people take advantage of this opportunity. First of all, it is expensive. Secondly, the demand, I repeat, for educated working women, and they do not want to see competitors in their house))). Although I talked to a cab driver (I do not think he earns a lot), who had two wives and was going to marry a third. I do not know why he attracts them? Either he takes the most unpromising (illiterate and poor), or he has a secret.

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