My vacation in Jordan was a trip of a lifetime to say the least. My friends live in Amman, Jordan and I was fortunate enough to visit them. I never in a million years would have thought I would travel to the Middle East, but I am so thankful I am open to new experiences. My friend, Elissa put together a remarkable itinerary and each day was better than the next and it couldn’t have been more perfect. My first thoughts were… what do I wear? Can I wear shorts? Do I have to wear long dresses? Do I have to cover my head like they do? What is allowed and what isn’t? Thank goodness Elissa was there to guide me and tell me when I could wear shorts and when I should wear pants. If we were going to be in town amongst the locals I was to cover up as much as possible, no shorts or sleeveless tops. If we were going to a tourist site, then it was okay to wear shorts but still obviously not too short. Easy enough!
My first day in Amman was a fun packed day of sightseeing. We went to The Citadel, the highest point of the city to see The Temple of Hercules and admire the stunning views of the city. We then went to the Souk (the local market) and wandered through the town before stopping for lunch at a local spot, which was delicious!
The next day we went to Mount Nebo, where Moses saw The Promised Land. The views were breathtaking and left me speechless. After this spiritual experience we drove down the valley to The Dead Sea!! This exceeded my expectations. We bought a day pass and swam in the pool and spent a much needed day of relaxation. Towards the end of our day we made our way down to the Sea and when I say down, I mean down! The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth!! You can’t swim in the Dead Sea, but you can float! There is a high concentration of dissolved mineral salts in the water and since our body weight is less dense your body automatically floats. We covered ourselves in mud from the sea, sat in the sun for 10 minutes till we were dry and then floated in the sea. The mud from the sea is high in minerals, such as sodium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, iron, and calcium, so it nourishes the skin leaving it remarkably silky soft!!! Better than any spa day that you pay for here!
Next on the itinerary was Jerash to see the Roman ruins. This is where I bought an Arabic scarf and had one of the locals wrap my head Bedouin style to protect me from the blazing sun. It really did keep me cool. Followed by Petra, an ancient city carved from stone and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. This is where my dream came true and I rode a camel! I rode three to be exact over the next few days. It was such a calming and thrilling experience. Then we were off to Wadi Rum to camp in the desert. This was such a spiritual experience and by far my favorite. Star Wars and the new Aladdin movie were filmed in Wadi Rum and I truly felt like I was in a movie while we were there.
My trip was coming to an end and what better way to close out my whirl wind of a vacation than swimming in the Red Sea in Aqaba!
I know how truly fortunate I am to have experienced all of these amazing things. I learned a lot about their culture and I really embraced it. However, my first day in Amman was the only time I felt people were staring at me. My dress was very long and shapeless, and I felt like I was wearing a tent so the fashionista in me tweaked it by pulling it up and tying it in a knot. I thought it looked great, but Elissa was quick to point out the looks I was receiving. I didn’t understand why till she told me it was because my leg was showing. My initial reaction was, it’s just my lower leg! It’s barely anything! I then noticed that the women were sending me disapproving looks. I didn’t understand it, I wasn’t grasping what the big deal was but then quickly realized I didn’t need to understand it I only needed to respect it. From that day forward I felt completely comfortable and safe everywhere we went.
This trip made me realize how fortunate we are that we live in a country that allows us to dress freely and be our own individuals. We have so much freedom and I really took that for granted but not anymore! We live in completely different worlds and I am not sure how well I would do living in a country that forced me to dress a certain way and act a certain way. I did however love learning about their customs, culture and traditions. I loved every minute of my experiences while I was there and I feel like I really grew as a person. I was open to everything around me which really enhanced my experiences while I was there.
I truly believe they are happy with their culture and their religion is extremely important to them. They probably don’t understand our western ways and how we dress but if we respect each other and learn from each other then this is all that really matters.
Melissa Gauvreau – Styled by M