The Journey Over

We began in Charlotte on a late-night flight to London.  When you travel to a country that requires a Visa, you are not able to check in online for the flight, but I had pre-purchased seats beforehand, so I was not too worried about it.  We checked in at the gate and said goodbye to our luggage until Jordan.  Our American Airlines flight left on time and we arrived in London with little fuss.  Our layover in London was pretty lengthy…5+ hours so we settled in for a bit and made use of the airport Wi-Fi.  Our gate was eventually announced, and we headed over to wait there and do some shopping…That is when I found this!!!!

Soon enough, however, we were on the plane to Amman.  This is where I did something I had not done before; I pre-ordered my dinner!  I mean I knew you could request a certain type of meal (diabetic, vegetarian, kosher, etc.) but I was not aware that some airlines (British Air) allows you to pick a totally normal (but gourmet) meal for an upcharge.  After my flight from Hamburg Germany, where I did not get a meal because I was the last row served and there was nothing left, this upcharge was well worth it in my mind.  And British Airways did not disappoint!  I had Poached shrimp to start, Braised beef with Gouda Mashed Potatoes, and roasted vegetables for my entrée, and hazelnut chocolate cake for dessert!  All served with a bottle (mini…okay) of red wine and a bottle (still mini) of white wine.

It was really good!  Not just “good for airplane food,” but actually really good!  In addition, the flight was barely full, so I had the whole row to myself.  All in all, a very enjoyable flight.  Which was a good thing because we were not landing until 11pm and we had no one meeting us so it was good that we were relaxed and stress free before navigating the process of getting our Visas, luggage, and a ride to our hotel all on our own!

Fortunately, this all turned out to be pretty darn easy.  Even as two women in the Middle East.  I had been told that really, all that was needed to obtain the Jordanian Visa was 40JD (Jordanian Dinar), in cash per person.  And that there were banks available 24/7 to ensure I had my money ready to hand over.  In truth, it wasn’t even that complicated as the immigration desk now takes credit cards, eliminating the shop at the bank.  With so few passengers on the flight, our luggage was delivered in no time and we were through customs and out in no time.  I knew to go to the taxi stand for a taxi as the prices are fixed and it is regulated.  We were in our taxi and headed to our hotel really within about 20 minutes of the plane landing so that part could not have been easier!  Check in was smooth, just a couple quick copies of our passports, a swipe of the credit card and done.  We were upstairs in our room by 11:33pm after landing at 10:20pm…Not anywhere near as bad as I had imagined! 

Our hotel room was lovely!  Spacious (more than European anyway!) and well appointed.  The bathroom had a super cool double shower and the mirror was made for doing your make up

However, at nearly midnight, all we did was fall into bed!  We did not have to meet our group until 5pm the next day so we had the day to ourselves…which turned out to be a good thing!

Day Zero in Jordan

The hotel had advised us on check in that breakfast would be served from 6:30am until 10:30am.  Well we finally opened our eyes at about 10:45 so that was a no go.  No worries though, we decided to shower and get ready for the day, then hit up the café in our hotel for lunch.  We had no idea what was around us, and it seemed that our hotel was in a bit of an industrial area and besides Hardees, we could not see any other nearby restaurants. 

So after a super fun shower in the gigantic, double-headed shower, we headed up to Rienè Café for our first official meal in Jordan.  Okay, so mom got a club sandwich…not very local but she said it was really tasty!  I, however, got something called Shish Taouk.  Basically, grilled chicken chunks cooked on the grill.  But that description does absolutely not convey how amazing  this dish tasted.  I (as a good Irish girl) had not ventured into Middle Eastern food fearing the spice levels would be too much for me.  What an amazing discovery to find that while the spice was totally different than I was used to, it was so beautifully seasoned (not spicy) that I really was more and more in love with every bite!

After lunch we decided to walk around a bit, but we quickly realized that there really was nothing close to our hotel worth seeing, so we headed back to the room to just relax until we met our group (and group leader) for dinner.

Later that evening, we headed down to meet our travel mates and our group leader, Mohammed.  Our dinner that evening was at the hotel, in a different restaurant from where we had lunch.  This dinner was mostly western style:  Greek Salad, Chicken breast in a mushroom cream sauce, and bread pudding for dessert…but this bread pudding was amazing!  Cinnamon and Cardamom gave it a totally different taste from ours…It was spectacular!

After dinner, we all headed up to bed to be well rested for the ACTUAL first day of our tour.  That night, however, there was a party in the courtyard below our room…And they played BABY SHARK!!!!  I could not believe it, but I thought it was sooooooo Fun! 

Tomorrow we tour the Citadel and downtown Amman…And break away from the group for an amazing dinner with an unexpected friend!

Posted by:Rachel Harrington

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