After A German in Jordan and An American in Jordan, the third guest post in this series. I would like to give a big thanks to Joanna for her views and input and writing such a great post. Joanna is Polish, living in Jordan since August 2016. She loves traveling and exploring new places and cultures. She is involved in founding and developing a start-up. Nature, yoga, plenty of books, and freshly brewed coffee are the things that make her truly happy. If you enjoy this post and are interested in more information on living in Jordan, see my Ultimate Guide to Living in Jordan as Expat.
Thanks a lot for this great guest post!
4 Things I like about Jordan
- Hospitality – Jordanians take hospitality to the next level! I absolutely love the fact that people are so kind and welcoming and they take being a host very seriously. Whether it’s night or day they will always greet you with fresh coffee with a pinch of cardamom. Jordanian hospitality is a truly unique thing.
- The weather – Although I’ve spent my life in Poland, I am not a big fan of Polish weather. I hate winter with a true passion. So coming here and having loads of sun pretty much every day is just amazing. And the fact that I don’t have to supplement vitamin D because I can just go outside and get it naturally really makes my day. And sunny weather always makes me very positive and happy.
- Springtime in Jordan – I love spring in general buy boy, oh boy, there is something about the spring here in Jordan. The valleys that are usually dry and sandy turn green during the springtime. Maybe it’s not so obvious if one lives in Amman, but the suburbs are just a pure example of green beauty. And the further north you go, the greener. So if one wants to come and explore Jordan, it should be during spring because then summer comes and all turns to a dry and dusty landscape.
- History in every corner – I love history, I love reading historical books so living here literally gives me the opportunity to witness the history pretty much everywhere I go. Obviously, Petra, Jerash or Amman itself are pretty sweet historical gems but there are many many many more undiscovered/ less attended beauties such as Qasr al-Abd, Karak castle, Umm Qais or even As-Salt city. Jordan might be a tiny country but it is packed with historical sites and I absolutely love it.
4 Things I miss or dislike about Jordan
- Infrastructure – now this topic is a broad concept: not only majority of people drive here like there is no law implemented whatsoever, the majority of them would use cellphones, forget/ not really care about indicators and seatbelts, a lot of people treat cars like a disco so they would really enjoy their very loud music and pretty much everybody around is forced to listen to their tunes, but also the public transport is pretty much non-existent if you want to compare it with the one available in Poland. So if someone asks me if I prefer driving/ using public transport in Jordan or Poland my answer will be always Poland.
- Trash situation – it just gives me heartache to see how people handle the trash here: you will find a lot of people littering the streets for no good reason since literally 1 meter away is a trash container. Or when they go for a picnic and they just leave their trash behind them once they finish so next time they come to the very same spot they will sit among their own old trash. And the story repeats itself every time they come and enjoy their picnic. And it makes me so sad because the country is so beautiful but the people don’t really care. Recycling is forced upon people in Poland so when I came here and I saw there is no recycling whatsoever it just made me so disappointed. Also, what’s with the amount of plastic bags in shops? In Poland you have to pay for them, here they are for free so you will find people leaving with 20 bags, each contains just 2 objects. Such a waste!
- The access to art and cultural events – You really need to dig in order to find cultural events. I know they exist, but definitely, it should be more of them available for people. For example, in Poland, a lot of such events are free of charge. We have loads of concerts, festivals, books, and comics events. Once you find something you can attend in Jordan, the ticket price is just ridiculous. And the number of museums and art galleries – definitely not enough for such a rich culture!
- Reading books is an odd thing to do – Despite the fact that books here are super cheap if you compare it with Poland, people rarely read. They are not interested in books and when they are, they are considered weird or geek. I will never forget the view of everyday Warsaw metro, where loads of commuters are lost in the books on their way to the work. And what I miss is also access to public libraries. In Poland, you have at least a few of them in every city and people attend them on a weekly/ monthly basis.
Places & Events You Need to Know
The Polish community (called Polonia in our language) is very small but it exists here. However, apart from the Polish Embassy, there aren’t many truly Polish places or events. What I can recommend from my perspective though, is European Film Festival that happens every autumn. It’s free of charge event that shows movies from different European countries, including Poland as well. If you crave for Polish-like food, the place I recommend is a shop called Russian Media that sells all sorts of goodies that are staples in Polish household ( kasza jaglana, kasza gryczana, ćwikła, ogórki kiszone, kiełbasa, serek wiejski, śmietana, kefir,chleb żytni and the list goes on) and as it turns out we share them with other Slavic countries.
As for the other places that I can highly recommend are:
– the bookshop that I love called Dar Safahat ( دار صفحات), they have ridiculously cheap English books so it’s perfect for a bookworm.
– Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts – always amazing exhibitions and on the second floor you can enjoy a very unique coffee shop called Jungle Fever. It has a collection of art books in different languages, I even found two in Polish! And the interior design of it reminds me very much of those little hipster coffee shops in Warsaw.
– Cielo Cafe – another gem to discover! It’s a coffee shop and art gallery in one. Very folky, beautiful design. It’s like a mix of different folklore, I could even find Slavic folk there too! So definitely worth visiting!
If you liked this one, make sure to check out the other posts in this series of guest posts.