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Notes from Jordan: first impressions

- Kathryn

For the past week, I’ve been traveling along King’s Highway in Jordan for my annual school trip, interim semester. After a stopover in Colombo and then in Dubai, we finally made it to Amman, the capital of Jordan.

There were two cultural differences that I noted right away. First, while I am used to seeing Muslim women covering their hair with scarves in Singapore, I wasn’t used to men wearing headdresses (called a kufiyyah). There is a particular color and pattern for the material. Below is a picture of an Arab man sporting the traditional garb at Jerash. He was one of the musicians we saw there playing…bagpipes. Blame the British influence.

The second thing I noticed was that the men would greet each other with a kiss on the cheek and could be seen holding hands. Such “PDA-ing” is acceptable among male friends.

I was also surprised at the lack of cultural differences. Last year, I traveled to Greece, the birthplace of western civilization. I couldn’t help but think of how Athens and Amman looked similar. Both capital cities have an interesting juxtaposition of modern architecture and ancient ruins. Athens has the Acropolis and Amman has a citadel and Roman theater. In Athens, all the buildings are white and beige. In Amman, the buildings are a darker, sandy beige. In Athens, there is an old church at the top of one of the hills of the city. In Amman, the top of the hill is covered with mosques.

For our trip, we visited Amman, Jerash, Madaba, Mt. Nebo, Karak, Petra, and Wadi Rum. I’ll be writing more plus adding photos and video in the next two weeks so come back to check!

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