Thanks a lot to Anastasia, a Russian Marketing Specialist, who is has been in Jordan since 2014 and loves cheese and the spacious apartments in Jordan. In the 7th episode of these guest posts, you can read about what Anastasia loves about Jordan and what she rather doesn’t enjoy. See also how other expats such as an Austrian, Canadian, Italian, German, Brit, Japanese, French, Spaniard, Irish, or American who lives in Jordan.
4 Things I like about Jordan
Big spaces and apartments
I love how spacious the flats are, with all these high ceilings, rooftops, private gardens, wide doors, and guest bathrooms. In Russia, there are still lots of flats made during the Soviet time, where it was a norm to make a toilet room not wider than 90cm, where you are supposed to bend over a sink not more than 25 degrees, just because engineers decided so! Of course, not all of the Russian flats are like this, yet definitely, the rent prices here are lower and the apartments are more comfortable.
The quality of meat, fruits, and dairy is definitely better than in Russia, especially when you learn where and what to buy in Amman. As a person, who grew up in a country where oranges were a luxury, I’m still happy to see them growing on the trees, even after 7 years in the Middle East!
Jordanians definitely know how to deal with meat, the lamb chops and steak cuts are great, I even started to eat meat in Jordan after 16 years of being a vegetarian. And I enjoy halloumi and labneh for my breakfast options.
The first winter I came to Jordan (2014), it was snowing so heavily people were dragging their cars out of snow and we even didn’t go to work for several days (it was also a very fun surprise for me). So, for the next year, I’ve bought a thick cashmere coat – and never wore it! My winter set of clothes is a windproof jacket and a pair of autumn shoes, so I like that in Jordan you don’t need to wear heavy clothes in winter. Of course, I still complain about the weather in winter, as the lack of indoor heating continues to be an issue, however, I’m happy it’s not -30 degrees as in Siberia.
Physical Labour in Jordan is affordable for any working family – a nanny, a maid, a window cleaner. It’s convenient that you can pay and someone will do the work for you, from washing the dishes or watering the flowers to heavy furniture moving and stone walls polishing. In some areas of Amman, they have a housekeeper in the building who can bring you the food from the supermarket, take out the garbage or change the light bulb for you. I think that’s a great option for older people who are not able to do such things because of their age.
4 Things I dislike about Jordan
Not taking care of the health
I keep wondering why Jordanians are so reckless about their health. I’ve never seen so many people eating Gaviscon and Rennie as candies! They are not aware of what kind of diet they should take and if they have gastritis or not, and they are fine about it, stuffing themselves with pills after each meal. And the tendency to treat everything here with antibiotics makes the situation worse.
The same thing is about the blood pressure and diabetes, Jordanians are mostly not aware that eating rice affects their blood pressure level, and I feel sorry about their negligence and the absence of basic medical-related knowledge.
That’s a tough part for every foreigner, in the beginning, it’s hard to understand that in the city with a population of 4mln. people there’s no proper public transportation. I came to Jordan in 2014, and each taxi ride was a nightmare for me, as before I never knew I have to talk to a taxi driver and he might be offended if I tell him to mind his business and drive. At least now we have online services as Careem, where drivers are silent, know how to use the air conditioner, and have GPS, so I have no need to explain with my twisted Arabic where I need to go. I have no need to listen about traffic and nobody asks me what I’m doing here and tells me “welcome to Jordan”.
High level of noise
Arabs are extremely resistant to noise, probably by the reason they grew up in big families, and were always surrounded by a dozen relatives talking at the same time, with their tv on. That’s my only explanation why they don’t feel they can disturb someone by honking, saying goodbye to their relatives next to my bedroom window around midnight, or not controlling their children in public places.
Need to look for bread
It’s a very personal and small complaint, yet I can’t stand the local flatbread and find it indigestible. So it took me a while to find out there are bakeries in Amman that can make something else than pita bread, kaek or tasteless toast bread. The whole proper bread search here is complicated, as you need to order or go someplace special for a loaf.
Places & Events You Need to Know
Jalaad Cultural Center and their art gallery – I wrote a post about it recently and want to mention it here as well. If you want to see what Arab art is about, you definitely should visit this place, forget about the Jordan National Gallery. It’s 45 min. drive from Amman, a private collection contains more than 1000 paintings and sculptures of international and Arab painters.
Mistaka – to buy the most delicious, freshest dairy and cheese. I’m not joking, it’s the best place. They have a sort of an open house on Saturdays where you can come, from 11 am till 2 pm, to try and choose aged cheese, halloumi, yogurt, and labneh.
Cattleman’s Joe – brisket burgers are amazing, as well as the modern Texas bar interior and old cowboy movies on big screens but I should warn you that the portions are enormously huge, a person with a regular stomach can’t eat 250gr of brisket at once and have side dishes!
If you liked this article, please also see the other posts in this series. Thanks a lot to Anastasia!