The entire area of the Middle East has unfortunately been labeled by the media as a land of unsettled conflict. I can feel the tension in Jerusalem; I even felt it in Egypt. There are still 19 Arab countries left for me to visit, but using Israel and Egypt as a comparison, Jordan seems to stand out as a beacon of hope to its surrounding Mideastern counterparts.
Twilight is my favorite time of day. Sunlight hits the earth, highlighting its natural features in the most beautiful way and people are out and relaxed, enjoying the beauty of the sunset after a good days’ work. We first entered Jordan about an hour before twilight and I immediately felt the ease and happiness emanating from Jordanians walking out of their shops, going out of their way to wave at our American tour bus passing through.
At one point we stopped the bus for about 10 minutes on the main road of a small village. No one unloaded, but many students began exchanging smiles and “Keef Hallaks” with shop owners outside. I smiled at one man and without thinking he brought me a falafel from his shop and handed it to me through the bus window. His big smile showed that he didn’t expect anything in return. This small gesture became so indicative of the overall hospitality and friendliness felt on for the rest of the trip (which included an unforgettable dinner with a good friend of my grandmother's, Leila Sharaf).
Jordanians are proud of their country and eager to share their culture. Many of the military members we saw at tourist sites were more than friendly and eager to pose in a picture for us. This was quite a contrast compared to some of the guards I've meet in other countries (I'm thinking England).
If I were to judge a country based on my impressions of its people, Jordan is definitely towards the top of my list. Its wonderful people combined with incredible natural wonders (Petra), great food, and modern political significance makes Jordan a country everyone should enjoy in their lifetime.