One of the most historically potent places in the world, Jordan is often overlooked in favour of its neighbours, Egypt and Israel. Fortunately for travellers, the fewer amount of tourists makes this small country an enchanting place to visit.
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Lori Henry left for Jordan near the end of March 2011 on a week and a half long trip through the country. This also happened to be just over a month after the protests against President Mubarak in Egypt, and in the middle of the uprisings in Syria and fighting against Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.
As she would learn very quickly, Jordan – although in the middle of the conflicts in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt – was staying out of trouble. The country was stable enough for a thriving tourism industry to welcome visitors, but many of them had cancelled their trips. Most travellers include Jordan on an Egypt and Israel circuit, so when things heated up in Cairo, tours were cancelled and trips postponed or re-booked to other parts of the world.
What a shame. Jordanians were watching the news just as carefully as those in North America were, waiting to see what would happen, but were otherwise open for business. Lori discovered the charming children who were eager to tag along with her in Amman; hiked through the lowest nature reserve on earth, Wadi Mujib; ate lunch with a Druze family in the lightly populated eastern desert; stayed at an incredible off-the-grid eco lodge in the Dana Biosphere Reserve; and spent the evening with a Bedouin family in the western desert.
Jordan: A Different Middle East follows the author’s adventures after she has visited the two most emblematic tourist attractions in the country – Petra and Wadi Rum – and discovers the lesser known parts that make Jordan so exceptional.