Jordan: A Love ‘Letter’

This in fact is not a love letter per se but may sound like one because there are indeed many things I love about Jordan. This is also an attempt to balance out my latest list of grieviences concerning Jordanian Etiquette, which in retrospect may have given a more darker impression of Jordan that I had not intended. These are more general and not all relevent to society.

Once again, in no particular order other than that which they emerge from my mind:

1- I love the fact that every taxi driver has a story to tell many of which concern a girl he once picked up
2- The sight of young men swarming to Shawarma Reem and Karam while just across the street McDonalds is almost vacant.
3- The ability to just cruise around. (preferably in search of strange looking people)
4- Playing tarneeb on a balcony in the midsummer’s air at 3am with 3 good friends and some coffee.
5- Every Sunrise
6- Every Sunset
7- The feeling you get when seeing the Khazneh of Petra through the cracks in the hills for the first time and every time after
8- Watching final football matches at the Ahli Club
9- Lebnani cocktails: honey but no cream
10- The traffic is so bad in Amman but it gaurentees a conversation starter
11- Everything is so close including friends
12- Buying burned copies of movies on the street for 2 JDs’
13- The ability to return burned copies of movies when the quality is bad.
14- Mashawi Picnics (bbq)
15- The 15 piaster swirled ice cream sold on Duwar Firas that everyone lines up for
16- Ayoub at Ras Beirut & Saeed at Ousra restaurant [workers who make you laugh no matter who you are]
17- Snow Days in Jordan
18- The Jordanized feeling of drinking cheap bottled Pepsi with friends while sitting on a curb
19- Cat Fights…literally the fights between the street cats
20- Gahwa-nation i.e. the long hill after Blue Fig where guys drink Turkish coffee
21- The sheer pride in finding a parking spot in Abdoun on a Thursday night
22- Arab tourists in Amman: love’m or hate’m they add a sense of Arab multiculturalism to Amman
23- When a wedding mawkab (procession) passes by or Jordan wins a football match you suddenly have an excuse to honk your horn like a crazy person. It’s like an early birthday gift.
24- When a car accident occurs everyone gets down to look and usually help.
25- Empty Amman roads in the early morning.
26- Jordanian theatrical comedies
27- The high hills of Kerak
28- Mansaf (+ jameed Keraki)
29- When a Shepard crosses the street with his sheep cars stop patiently. There is still respect for the Bedouins
30- The rusted Captain’s ship at Jbayha Amusement Park and the realistic screams of its brave riders
31- When stopping to ask a stranger for directions in Kerak you will almost always get an invitation to dinner.
32- The Haunted Hills of Umm il Sous
33- Creative new takes on old customs i.e. shawarma wok, saj and the falafal place beside Faris in Swefieh
34- Bowling at Abu Dahab and Quds sandwiches right after
35- If you ever see two very old men Jordanian men talking sit yourself next to them. You will hear the most hilarious stories ever told.
36- Floating in the Dead Sea (does not include getting eyes stung)
37- The hills of Ajloun. It’s like being on a cloud if you go in the spring.
38- When completely broke a friend will gladly pay for you and forgive the debt
39- Humos, Foul and Falafal, the staple of the rich and poor.
40- Warm Pita bread fresh from the oven
41- The smell of a Bakery
42- Walking the trails of the Dana hills.
43- Watching the Sun set and rise on a hill top in Wadi Rum
44- The red red sand of Wadi Rum
45- Haggling over prices in downtown Amman
46- The souk il 7aramyeh (Criminal’s Souk or Black Market)
47- Fresh and cheap Fruit and Vegetables
48- The call of morning prayer
49- Visiting people on Eid and getting some good old home made ma3mool
50- Cozying up in winter by the heater and reading a book

There are of course many more things but 50 is my maximum.

Feel free to add on.

UPDATE: More Love Letters

“No need for fossil fuels or headaches. Nothing better than the natural way!”


  • I’m missing out on so much…it amazes me how i still remember few things since childhood. used to love coktails and hot fresh cakes sold in Ramadan, not cake, cakes or something like that. used to love the smell of freshly made atayef filling an entire street of restaurants, as if they don’t care about competition, believing that Allah the Almighty is the source of living.

    I also love the tiny colored fish they used to sell in bags filled with water outside schools, do they still do that?
    it wasn’t a pretty scene seeing children torturing the poor fish though. not to mention that the bags weren’t filled with normal 7anafeyye water, of course wefound out too late, but i still love that.

    i love sitting out on balconies or 7oush after midnight and chat with relatives from different ages in the cool air while the moon looks like it’s watching upon us.

  • Good balance, Nas!

    1) I love the NOBLE taxi drivers, who when they ask me where I am from, and I say “Samahni, America”, they have a 20 minute discourse on how much they love American people.

    2) I am also thankful for the traffic, as it keeps fatalities down (unlike the Emriates)

    3) I am thankful for the jordanplanet community, as they have raised my respect and esteem for Jordan even more.

    4) I love hanging out with Jordanian moms and eating tabbuleh at kid’s birthday parties

    5) I am thankful that if a shabaab touches me in the balad, I can yell and every adult male in hearing comes to my rescue.

  • This list is impressive, I am trying very very hard to add to it. This is what I came up with, so far:

    1) The 7afartali words almost every guy knows, and most girls pretend not to know, 3ala asas. I love 7afartali words.

    2) The fact that almost everyone is related to you. A 10 minute chat about lineage and you’ll discover everyone in Jordan is your family, literally.

    3) Il balad, or downtown, in its entirety. Not just Sou2 el 7arameyyeh (el joura), Share3 el Telyani, Sou2 el Dahab, Sou2 Mango, Parking el Shabsou’3, Mat3am el Qahera, o kaman Sou2 el Khodra (el 7esbeh)

    4) Stores that sell electronic appliances alongside plates and curtains.

    5) Olive trees.

    6) The smell of earth when it first rains.

    7) The smell of small water trails in certain areas in Karak, especially at dawn. That is surreal.

    8) Pebbles and fossils you can find almost everywhere outside the city.

    9)The numerous tales about golden relics and treasures existing in one particular location, and yet nobody seems to find them.

    10)The superficial seriousness of your average Jordanian, yet that’s mostly gone once you start a conversation.

    11)The men that sell coffee in three different variations at highways.

  • 1. Jordanian humour…remember the karaki stop sign thats only meant for the Ma’ita?
    2. children on summer break who play in the street until 2 in the morning
    3. empty streets on Friday
    4. family, family, family!
    5. 3adas soup in the winter
    6. eating cleminteena, bomalea in cold weather
    7. radio channels that ask for listener comments and get grip sessions instead
    8. ur school friends that visit ur family even if ur not in the country
    9. four movies for a JD at the Rainbow theater, seating optional.
    10. the Disciplining of children in public
    11. playing Hashimi Hashimi to get rid of the police who have come knocking on ur door at 3 in the morning because the music is too high
    12. political and religious discussions with eveyone
    13. and God bless sisters that loan you the car and dont ask where u’ve been until 6 am

  • I love this list 🙂

    Echoing Tololy, I love everything about downtown… the book kiosks, the herb shops, the fresh nuts, habibah, hashem, the old men sitting on stools in front of their shops observing everything…

    I love the water ponds in the middle of the streets, and the cars splashing through.

    I love the man who works at the Roman Amphitheatre downtown, and how he manages to put the few English words he knows together and to greet tourists so warmly.

    I love the way everyone respects the authority of the ‘control’ in the coaster busses.

    I love the big Knafeh platter that comes at the end of a major lunch or dinner invitation.

    I love Abul-Abed’s Turkish coffee.

    I love the frenzy of Christmas bazaars, (even though I hate the commercialization of Christmas.)

    I love the foggy sunset from Mount Nebo.

    I love the Friday morning queue in front of Abu Jbara’s Falafel, with kids holding plates to fill with Hummus, and men in their pajama pants and slippers!!

  • Kinzi, loool @ â??Samahni, Americaâ? that was halarious. and your number 5…ooh yeah…and you can bet he’ll get a social beating.

    Tololy, great list! I especially can relate to number 2 and 7. All you need is your father and grandfather’s name and you might end up finding a long lost cousin. Your number 9 reminds of some stories about thieves that break into a farm at night, tie up the gaurd and start digging for gold.

  • Open 25 hours a day….this was on a cafe close to my house…forgot the name!!! Asked the guy why…he said (24 sa3ah bel youm, 2o sa3ah la 3yoon el shabab)…Thats what i miss, the witeness of the average Jordanian

    Anyways my spammmmiiish add-on…..sorrry
    I just wanted to inform you that we started a geographic aggregator @ We already started aggregating some countries, and just thought that you might be interested anyways submit your blog to its a geographic aggregator, its in beta stage for now…i would love it if Jordan was next (my home country)

    again sorry for my spammish post


  • nice list nas..

    but number one 1 really irritates me..
    I mean, everybody tells me the same thing about amman taxi drivers, but I never had such an encounter! not even a single one among all the taxis I’ve taken!

    maybe I should lose the beard : )


  • The pure Jordanian sunshine that we get to enjoy 90% of the time. Lemon and Mint nargile. Gas trucks that sound like ice cream trucks. The manaqish that I can buy right around the corner from my house. Rooftop cafes that offer great views of the city in summer.

Your Two Piasters: