FAVORITE MOMENTS: JORDAN
Authored by Meghan Fisher and Megan Claydon
March 3, 2019
We were beaming with pride in our Texas flag 1 piece bathing suits.
We were enamoured by the fact that we could easily float on water.
We were…. simultaneously petrified that our bum holes would start burning by the highly salinated water of the dead sea (not making this up, you can stay in for TOO long).
Like everyone else, we were a bit skeptical of traveling to the middle east, but our trip to Jordan was packed with incredible moments like this one. If you’re looking for a solid adventure and want a cultural experience in a place that isn't overflowing with tourists (yet), we would highly recommend Jordan. A detailed post of our trip would be longer than a CVS receipt; so instead, we are going to share some stories of our favorite moments in Jordan and throw it some good tit bits along the way.
Favorite Moment 1 - Regulation Hotties
We spent one day and night in the Wadi Rum desert. Our tour guide was one of the local Bedouin and spent the day pleading with us to bring back a pair of size 10 black cowboy boots. He took us all over the Wadi Rum desert to see all the cool feature and great photo spots. At one of the spots, the three of us decided to climb up a rock feature to get a good vantage point to recreate a dixie chicks album cover. Our desert tour guide was leading the way up to the rock past a small group of Bedouin men and one of them shouted “ladayk fatinat alssakhina!” Sarah, who spoke Arabic, busted up laughing as our Wadi-cowboy guide responded in haste casting a nervous glance at the 3 of us. Naturally, we were confused but Sarah looked happy and promised to fill us in later. Atop the rock we took in the Wide Open Spaces (<--- see what I did there?) of the desert, slayed our best bey poses and Sarah filled us in; not realizing that one of us spoke Arabic, one of the men had jealousy shouted “You have the hot babes!!”
Tip: Be the hot babe that you are and if you are fortunate enough to have an amazing travel companion and friend who can speak the language, drag them along for your adventure.
Favorite Moment 2 - My Lovely Lady Lumps
You know how some people can’t seem to take a bad picture? Well, I used to think that was Megan and then we decided to ride camels and my perception was forever changed.
The last thing we did before exiting Wadi Rum was ride Camels for about 30 minutes and let us tell you, if anyone ever tries to sell you on an all day camel ride; unless they offer you the rolls royce of camel seat cushions, hard pass. As opposed to meeting our expectation of it being similar to riding a horse, you know, elegant and graceful like, we would equate it more to riding a dingy old bicycle with the world’s most uncomfortable seat combined with a mechanical bull.
Tip: Touch the humps, but only for a short period of time.
Favorite Moment 3 - A Christian, a Muslim and an Apatheist Walk Into a Bar….
Look we get it, everyone is in a different place spiritually. The best thing we can do is to be open, honest, and willing to listen. The three of us embodied this principal on the trip. Jordan is rich with religious history. Instead of avoiding it all together due to our different belief systems, we embraced it. We visited every religious site Jordan had to offer - The Jordan River where Jesus was baptized, the mosque in Amman, Mt. Nebo where it is believed Moses is buried, a salt pillar that is rumored to be Lot’s wife fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah. We did it all and we talked! We shared the experience and we shared what we did or didn’t know about the place or the story attached to it. It was a great experience and something we highly recommend, regardless of your spiritual status.
Tip: Take the opportunity to soak in every unique experience a place has to offer.
Favorite Moment 4 - Roomhunters: The Dana Hotel Edition
When picking places to stay, we had varying levels of confidence with the establishments. While we expected the yurt without running water or electricity in the desert to be eclectic, we didn't expect the Dana Tower Hotel to provide us the option to select our room, each of them with its own strange oddity. The first was a windowless interior room with 3 twin beds, all of which were clad with disney character comforters. Though the room did have it’s own attached bathroom, we passed on option 1. Option 2 was a slight improvement in that it had its own window. Last, was the SunSet Royal suite. This beaut of a room had 2 double beds, windows, an external bathroom, an oil heater (which needed Meghan’s engineering skills to turn on) and required a padlock with a key to open. So posh.
Tip: Be flexible and go with the flow.
Favorite Moment 5 - Real Life Mario Kart
We high fived in triumph as we were handed the keys to our go-kart of a rental car scratch free after driving in Jordan for 10 days. There were several moments of extreme doubt:
- When we accidently leveraged invisible speed bumps to simulate a roller coaster. Upon landing in Amman, we had to drive about an hour to our hotel in the pitch black via a winding scenic route. The 4 feet of visibility at night was terrible and road humps were practically impossible to predict… so we launched ourselves into the air bump after bump while simultaneously trying to keep ourselves on the road.
- When fellow motorists, almost always men, would wave frantically out of their own car window to signal to us that our license plate was falling off…. we eventually gave up and took it off completely
- The 2nd (of 3) time we got pulled over at a roadside check station. The officer walked up to the window and just stared at us unable to speak; we think he was a little flustered by our extreme beauty… or the fact that two white women were driving around Jordan. I handed over my international driver's license with a smile. With a confused look on his face he simply put it up to his face, handed it back and signaled for us to drive away.
Tip: If you want to truly explore Jordans more remote areas, renting a car is a must. You’ll need an international driver's permit, patience and a strong stomach but it will give you the freedom to take full advantage of the countries many attractions.
Favorite Moment 6 - Network, Network, Network
Petra is the quintessential Jordan tourist destination and it lives up to the hype. It’s massive, sprawling and still continues to be discovered - you can do Petra in a day, but you’ll want to get up early to beat the crowds and be ready to test your fitness. This was the only place we really interacted with hoards of tourists of panhandlers trying to sell things to tourists; one gentlemen, who manned a shop full of tchotchkes happened to be wearing a Green Bay Packers hat. As a fellow cheese head, Meghan had to yell “Go-Pack-Go!” The gent immediently started engaging in a discussion about the Packer’s record that season (poor) and the skill set of Aaron Rodgers (baller) and eventually transitioned into a sales pitch for us to buy some of the good from his stand because of our new found friendship and the photograph we insisted on taking. Not ready to carry souvenirs up the mountain, we indicated that we would stop on our way back down. Hours later, as we descended down the mountain, we had forgotten about the man completely; however, as we approached his booth he scurried over to his fire and produced a spread for us of Bedouin tea. I’ll never forget burning my taste buds (why scorching hot tea is needed in 80 degree weather I will never understand… #culture) while being coerced into buying several scarves. I still wear these scarves today and always think of the Jordanian Cheese Head everytime I wear them.
Tip: It’s amazing how your networks and affiliations can follow you all over the world; don’t be afraid to leverage those to connect with people you wouldn't have normally. Also… if you don't want to buy something don't engage in activities that may make you feel obligated to.
Favorite Moment 7 - DJ Lions Milk
We were driving through the desert in what we are sure was a JEEP that was shipped from the western world to Jordan after it failed to meet its inspections. Our desert hosts wanted to share the local drink of choice, what they called arak or “Lions Milk,” a clear liquor that turned white when added to water; unfortunately, they did not have any, so we had to go get some. Driving through the pitch black desert to the store on the edge of the desert the gents asked us to enrich them with some American beats. As opposed to playing them something safe and sensible, like Hanson, we selected some samplings of the more extreme rap variety. We were happy bounding through the desert with the lyrical genius of Slim Thug and A$AP Rocky thumping in the background. At one point, the gents got out of the car and Sarah, who is clearly the most sensible of the group, gave us a lesson in being slightly culturally insensitive. Lessoned learned, don’t play music that can be or is degrading to women given the norms in the region.
Tip: Share your culture, but don’t be an idiot
Favorite Moment 9 - Super Dope Company
Sometimes your friends are smart, logical human beings.
Sometimes they try a variation of the youtube trick of opening a bottle of wine without a corkscrew (DO NOT TRY this, i.e. the bottle shattered and the hotel carpet was completely soaked #fail).
Sometimes they end up sliding down a mountain on their ass and
Sometimes they just won’t take that ridiculous hat off their head.
The best ones will tie your head scarves for you, look like instagram models sipping tea, and challenge you to be a better person.
Tip: It’s not about the location, it's about the company. Get yourself some dope adventure buddies and hold on tight.
Blogging Adventurers: Meghan Fisher and Megan Claydon
Instagram: @megfishihde @megan_claydon
The Meg(h)ans met in the fall of 2015 at Rice Business school and made an immediate connection when they realized their shared passion for not showing emotions. They have been adventuring together ever since. When the 3rd member of their Rice Business crew, Sarah, moved home to Saudi, they knew it was time for a reunion in the middle east.
Come adventure with LIVE ALIVE Adventures. Click HERE to check out our 2019 and 2020 adventures!