Scenes from a Jordanian Road Trip

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While I’m not so big on the act of driving, I love a good road trip.  Setting off with friends, good music, and letting the road unfold in front of you — what could be better?

It turns out that Jordan is an excellent place for a road trip.  The roads are safe and mostly empty, the drivers aren’t nearly as insane as other countries (I’m looking at you, Vietnam), the scenery is diverse and will blow you away, and driving allows you to see attractions at your discretion without booking an organized tour.

Were there crazy moments?  Oh my GOD, yes.  This short video, taken while driving through Wadi Rum, was probably the most insane 30 seconds of my entire week in Jordan. It’s probably the best example of how NOT to drive in Jordan. Behold:

So, what are the kinds of things you see when you road trip through Jordan?

Yes, you get that cliche but lovely moment of driving off into the sunset.  This was outside Ajloun.

This part of northern Jordan, not far from Ajloun, is known as the greenest part of Jordan, and looked different from everywhere else in the country.

Roadside stands were something to behold.  Check out the size of those radishes!

A major highway runs along the Dead Sea, so you can stop for amazing pictures like this!

We stopped for tea at a roadside shack and had the opportunity to play with some kittens.

Music videos were on in the background, and a Ne-Yo video began playing.  “This man, he thinks he is Michael Jackson,” Ibrahim said, deadpan, cracking me up.

I then tried my hand at a traditional instrument.

(Funny story.  When I asked about the music, Ibrahim told me it was called ‘Ud.  “‘Ud Music of Egypt?” I said automatically, wondering why that phrase was entrenched in my mind.  Then it hit me — back in the day, ‘Ud was the very first entry in Microsoft Encarta 1996!)

It wouldn’t be a road trip without road snacks!  In Jordan, that means you stop for falafel with the hottest, freshest pita bread you’ve ever tasted.

You might pass the occasional desert castle as well.

As you get into more rural areas in the south, keep your eyes peeled for goat crossings!

Feel like off-roading?  Wadi Rum is tailor-made for that, provided you’ve got an off-roading vehicle.  (See my video at the top for just what can happen in situations like these.)

And then the road REALLY changes when you approach Aqaba.  With palm trees spring up and the sapphire-like Red Sea, it looks like the view you’d see from the balcony of Oahu hotels.  In a single glance, you can see Jordan, Israel, and Egypt simultaneously.  On a clear day, you can even see all the way to Saudi Arabia!

One of the best things you can do is stop by the side of the road and visit with a nomadic family.  It’s eye-opening that people live their entire lives this way.

Shawerma from the side of the road — easily the best thing I ate in Jordan.  I inhaled two of these faster than any human being should.

“There’s a bridge just like this in Boston,” I said to Ibrahim as we crossed the Abdoun Bridge in Amman.  It reminds you of the Zakim Bridge, don’t you think?  Proof that the more you travel, the more connections you find around the world.

Anyone who has taken a road trip knows that the trip is only as good as the people on it.  Well, I majorly lucked out in that I had Ibrahim and Rami with me!  I love these two guys — they made me crack up throughout the week, they drilled me in Arabic nonstop, they let me have the front seat whenever I felt sick, and they indulged me when I was burned out and just wanted to stop talking for a while.

These two could not be better, and I’m so lucky I had a chance to get to know them.

I took another video in which I talk about road tripping through Jordan.  Check it out:

So — would you like to plan a road trip through Jordan anytime soon?

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