Friday, March 7, 2008

From Cairo To Amman

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page", St. Augustine. I've been on business trip to Jordan recently, and I'd like to share with you here those few pages I read of that book called "The World".

The trip from Cairo to Amman is slightly more than an hour, however their local time is the same as that of Cairo. I took a taxi from the Airport to Holiday Inn, where I stayed. It costed me about 20 Jordanian Dinars, which is a bit expensive when compared to the prices here in Egypt, as it is about 150 L.E. By the way the people there sometimes call it Lira instead of Dinar. I then went to my room and started unpacking my bags when I found this:

Holy Books

A Quraan and a Bible sitting side by side in one of the drawers there. It's a bit odd scene, however it may summarize how people with various beliefs visit or even live in such city.
It was a bit late then, so I decided to wander around the hotel and in El Madina El Monawara street.

The next day I woke up early and took my camera to have some shots of the streets around the hotel. In fact I was expecting Amman to look like Damascus or Cairo Down Town where building are a bit old, and streets are not that wide, however El Madina street was more like a highway with modern buildings.

Amman - Western Amman

Ok, there aren't many skyscrapers like those found in pseudo-Arabic cities such as Dubai, but still I couldn't smell the essence of an old city there.

Amman - Skyscraper

Each Arabic city may have its own characteristics, but they all have many things in common, at least people there speak Arabic, and Nancy Agram phosters are everywhere in the streets.

Amman - Coca Cola

And one of the main characteristics of Amman is that is is built upon hills and mountains and that's why there are a lot of ups and downs in the street, and also that's is why I was tired then and decided to take a taxi to my destination instead of walking. Also one other unique thing there is that many houses and buildings there are built using some kind of white rocks that is really beautiful and doesn't need any painting.

Amman - Western Amman

As I said earlier, I prefer walking to having a taxi, especially in new cities as there are some scenes that you can never see while in a car, such as this funny funeral sign:

Amman - Funeral Sign

Later on I realized that what I've been to was just western Amman, which is the newer extension of the old city that's called Eastern Amman now. So I decided to go to the Citadel which is located on a mountain in Eastern Amman. I went there at the evening and the Citadel was close, however the view form that mountain was really cool

Amman - Quosour

By the way, the huge flag seen in the above photo is the king's palace, or what they call there "El Qosour".

I then went down to a street called "Saqf El Seel", which is very similar to Cairo Down Town. Even the people in the shops there were listening to Egyptian music. It was really strange to see stores there dedicated to cracked DVD's. As you know such stuff are not legal, and people here just display them on the pavement or so, but not in stores. And yes, there were many Egyptian movies there for sure, even those very recent ones. Also the books displays in the street there are a good mean to know what topics people are interested in there.

Amman - Bookshop

As you can see in the above picture, many books there are about politics, and mainly the American invasion of Iraq, which is one of Jordan's neighbours. There are many other books about nutrition, diet, and horoscopes. And there are some religious books as well, however they are not as much as those seen in similar shops here in Cairo.

Amman - Street

Even the cars in Eastern Amman streets are a bit older than those you can see in Western Amman.

Malls, oh yeah, it's hard to visit a city without going to the malls there, at least to get some souvenirs to your family and friends. There are a couple of malls located somewhere between Down Town and Western Amman, Mukhtar Mall, and Isteklal Mall, both of them are suitable for getting your daily grocery and wasting some time, but the best mall in the city is Mecca Mall. It's a bit like City Stars here, where you can find all those well known brands. But take care, the prices there are not that Egyptian-Friendly ones.

By the way, whenever they know that I am Egyptian in mobile stores, they ask me if I'd like to buy Nokia N95. It seems that everybody knows that such mobile phone is banned here in Egypt because of the GPS capabilities in it.

On more location that you can visit in Amman, is the Roman Theatre there.

Amman - Roman Theater

I also wanted to get photographed in front of king Abdullah's Mosque. Coz you know, whenever there is Al Jazeera reporter reporting anything from Jordan, that mosque is seen in the background.

King Abdullah Mosque

Finally, I believe Amman is having many huge construction projects, and I guess it getting modernized more and more. And they may not have enough resources, but still they may have the will to follow Dubai's modernization model. And with projects such as Abdali's New Down Town, the city is going to be totally different in the next few years.

Amman - DAMAC Abdali

P.S. This is a Flickr Set that contains all those photos I took in Jordan, including those ones in Petra, and I think I may write a separate post about my trip to Petra soon.