Entry Info

10th (Thu)
Jun 2010

[day104] A Short Stay in Amman

This time, we checked in to the Mansour Hostel which is located in the middle of the downtown area. As usual, this accommodation is favoured by Japanese travellers for the Asian only special price. The dorm room with free wi-fi and breakfast costs only 3JOD. Though the shower's water flow was not really good, we shouldn’t complain for this price. What’s more, a local person who really loves Japanese people was helping there and he gave a lot of information to us. All in all, it was a reasonably comfortable accommodation though I wouldn’t stay long like Dahab.

Since I hadn't been to such an urbanised city like Amman for a long time, I decided to go to a book café which many foreigners frequent. The café is on the upper floor of the stylish imported book store and surprisingly a security check with the guard is required in order to enter the store. The café is a sort of an oasis for the Europeans residing in Amman and its interior is absolutely cool. It reminded me of my favourite café in Tokyo. I just ordered a milk shake which cost 3.5JOD. I reckoned it was quite reasonable for the quality of their design and service but a glass of milk shake was indeed more expensive than a night in accommodation. Incidentally, the dinner on the day, full of Arabic meals, was merely 2JOD. In fact this was the most highest expense in Amman for me. Yet, it was also the most satisfying moment too. Thinking about this situation, prices are very thought-provoking. Well, I should stop this topic here otherwise I can keep pondering over this forever.

We decided to stay in Amman only 2 nights for a few reasons. Firstly, Amman is an Arabic city which is slightly more sophisticated than Cairo but according to the friends from Dahab, Damascus's old town should be more fascinating than Amman for its very long and complicated history. Also some people go to the Dead Sea starting from Amman but in terms of the Dead Sea, it's better to go from Israel side as it's cleaner and very importantly girls wearing bikinis are there! Therefore, we couldn't find any reasons to remain this city. The friend group from Dahab would be also divided to the one heading for Israel and another for Syria.

Incidentally, travellers planning to visit Israel on their Middle East journey usually go to the border connected to Jordan by King Hussein Bridge. As you know, Israel is still at war with some Arabic countries such as Syria and Lebanon and with the Israeli stamp on your passport, many Arabic countries would refuse to let you in to their lands. Especially, it is critical for the people who are planning to go up North by land as there are no way to avoid Syria and they have to fly in this case.

Hereupon the King Hussein Bridge is used for a kind of a trick. In fact Jordan has already normalised the diplomatic relationship with Israel and there should be no problems for coming and going. In addition to this, at only this border, you can ask "no stamp" to the officers and they put the all stamps related to the passport control on another sheet of paper. In this way, pretending not to enter to Israel, you can technically enter Syria afterwards. Be wary not getting the stamps from the Jordan side as well for the concrete alibi. Also some seals will be put on your passport and luggage for security reasons when you enter Israel and you must remove them very carefully as the officers at the Syrian border would inspect for the trace of the seals only. (This information is based on a story on April 2010. The circumstances could easily change due to the international situations. Therefore, please refer to the fresh information, especially from the travellers onsite, when you make an actual trip.)

Speaking about myself, I was planning to go to the other Middle Eastern countries first and fly to Israel from Turkey as I didn't want to be bothered by the complicated stamp process. Thus, I joined the group going to Syria. As a matter of a fact, I didn't know that I was going to have a little problem entering to Israel but please wait for this moment. I'll write about it later.

From Petra to Amman, we used a shuttle bus (5JOD) which comes in front of the hostel on the morning of the departure if we make the reservation beforehand. It's a snap isn't it? Dozing off on the bus for two hours, we arrived at the bus station located on the outer edge of the city. From here, we had to find the next transportation by ourselves and as usual started negotiating with the taxi drivers waiting there. They offered us 1JOD each person to any accommodations in the down town area.

Well, is it cheap or not? We didn’t have the faintest idea of the local market price and nobody would tell us about it. In this situation, the only thing I can rely on is in fact my own instinct. Although some people always try to bargain the price negotiating for hours, to be blunt, it's the same difference with 1JOD or 0.8JOD, just waste of the time. Therefore, for the less stressful negotiation, I always try to judge with only my values. Besides, I don’t want to exploit the local people by settling on a too cheap price. It is reasonable to pay 1JOD for transportation in an unfamiliar city.

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In order to present well organised articles, this blog is not updated on real time base. (You can find "Entry Info" on the left panel, "updated on" and "travelled on") Regarding to the current information about me, please follow satoshionoda_e on twitter. I'm tweeting almost every day.

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