Thanks much to Chelsea, a pet-loving, environmental friendly vegan from California who lives in Amman, writes about various topics such as health, environment, activism and culture and of course food on her blog myammanlife.com/. See here her favorites in Amman, things she misses and what you definitively need to know about living in Jordan as an (American) expat. For more information on life in Amman and Jordan, see The Ultimate Guide to Living in Jordan as Expat.
4 Things I like about Jordan
- The Food – As a vegan living in Amman, most people think I would have a hard time finding good menu options, but the truth is, it’s super easy. The Jordanian/Levantine cuisine is packed with tons of vegan-friendly options. Also, the vegan/vegetarian scene is growing in Amman and you can even find a Vegans of Amman Facebook group full of plant-based eaters that gather for potlucks, to share ideas, recipes, etc.
- Nature – Jordan may not be a large country, but you can see a lot of different landscapes. From the forests of the north, down to the desert of Wadi Rum, Petra, and south to the Red Sea in Aqaba, you can see pretty much a bit of every type of scenery. If you really like the outdoors, I highly recommend hiking the Jordan Trail. You can do the whole entire trail from North to South, or join organized day trips to hike a section of it.
- The Language – One of the reasons I moved to Amman was to learn Arabic. Although they don’t speak fusha, you can learn the local Levantine amiyeh dialect. There are tons of schools that teach both fusha and amiyeh. I personally recommend Deewan Institute in Jabal al-Weibdeh neighborhood.
- Summertime – There is truly something magical about summertime in Jordan. Sure, it gets a bit hot, but it’s not scorching like in other countries in the region. One of the best things to do during summertime in Amman is to head to an outdoor terrace or rooftop for drinks and/or a meal.
4 Things I miss or dislike about Jordan
- Smoking Indoors – Smoking inside is legal in Jordan and there are VERY few establishments that are actually non-smoking. Going out to eat or for a drink means you come back smelling like an ashtray. The worst part is that people do not find it rude to smoke around non-smokers. This means there is absolutely NO way to escape the smoke.
- Animal Welfare – The Jordanian government’s way of dealing with stray dogs (they pretty much leave the cats alone) is to poison or shoot them. Though there are some animal rescue groups in Amman, the reality is that the country is severely lacking in education about animal welfare, and because of it, the treatment of stray dogs is honestly horrifying.
- Prices – Jordan is not a cheap place to live and going out for food and drinks can get VERY expensive. Sometimes it seems that the only thing that is affordable in Amman is the falafel. At less than 1 JD for a falafel sandwich, it’s always a good idea to hit up the best falafel restaurants in Amman, especially if you’re running low end of the month.
- Recycling – The trash situation in Amman is a disaster. With the absence of municipal recycling, the things that don’t end up in the landfill will get burnt on the side of the road. However, if you are as passionate about recycling as I am, there are some recycling centers in Amman.
Places & Events You Need to Know
- Make a weekend getaway to Mountain Breeze Resort. It’s just 1 hour outside of Amman and they have eco-cabins to stay the weekend and an amazing restaurant with impressive views if you just want a day trip.
- Eat a delicious and locally grown organic brunch at Yanboot
- Join the EcoHikers for a weekend hike to help clean up Jordan’s trails
- Do a bit of Wine Tourism and visit the local wineries
- Browse handicrafts at Souk Jara off Rainbow Street every Friday in spring and summer
- Have dinner and discuss a hot topic with locals and expats every week at Shams Community
- Support local business at Nour Al Barakah Farmers’ Market
- Join the ultimate frisbee team
- You can find quite a few American brands at Select Food Shoppe:
A big Thanks to Chelsea!
If you like this one, make sure to check out the other posts in this series of guest posts.