9000 years and still counting

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We finished our Jordan tour in Amman, leaving our car at the airport before we reached the traffic confusion of Amman.  (This is our bottom-line rule of renting cars – always pick-up and drop-off at the airport).  Amman, the capital, is where over 50% of Jordan’s 4.4 million population live.  It’s a different world from rural Jordan; a modern city that reminded both of us of Bangkok (20 years ago), with tall luxurious five-star hotels, vibrant street markets and rows upon rows of shop-houses selling food and supplies, clothing, furniture and, of course, cell phones.  Everyone has a cell-phone, and from what I heard (the constant whistle tones), everyone has a Samsung!  And everyone uses their cell-phone in the car too.  Texting, talking, driving.

Amman is a city with an amazing history.  One of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities in the world, its history dates back over 9000 years.  We saw the oldest things we’ve ever seen – in fact, the oldest statues ever found (or so I believe).  An interesting fact:  about 2300 years ago, it was named Philadelphia.  Ruled by the Assyrians, Persians, Macedonians, Nabateans (of Petra), and later the Romans.  It fell into ruin, and was little more than a large village for much of this millennia, until the Ottomans decided it should be on the route of a railway between Medina and Dammascus, on the pilgrimage trail.  Once again it grew, and shortly after WWI, when modern Jordan was established, Amman became the capital.  It is at once a young country, and an impossibly ancient one.

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4 responses »

    • Oh, don’t worry, by the time we were in Amman, we were taking taxis, not driving ourselves! Taxis were incredibly cheap, and pretty reliable.

      Though we did have an altercation with a taxi that picked us up at the Citadel. He didn’t turn his meter on, and we insisted. He wanted about three times what the fare should have been. So when we told him we’re not paying what he wanted, he turned around and drove us back to where we started. Gave us this sob story that he hadn’t had any customers yet that day. “But we were your first customer. And you didn’t want us!” we said. And got into another taxi, who happily turned on his meter, then asked us if we’d mind him smoking (we did), and for both those things he got a nice tip from us!

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