First time Jordan? Welcome.
Mike digs into a bowl of hummus at Hashem in Jordan.
"Welcome to Jordan," shopkeepers, waiters, perfume sellers, and taxi drivers called out as we walked down the streets of the capital, Amman, on our first evening in the country. If we stopped to say "Shukran!" ("Thank you" in Arabic), we might get the follow-up questions "First time Jordan? Where you from?" When we said we are from the U.S., we were always welcomed again. "America good," with a thumbs up.
This is probably not the reception most Americans expect from a Muslim country bordered by Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Palestine. But Jordanians are renowned for their hospitality. Many of the residents are of Bedouin descent. A traditionally nomadic ethnic group, the Bedouin have long endured life in a bitterly dry and hot landscape, in part through their honor code of diyafa. Every traveler, even an enemy, must be offered shelter, food, and protection if she or he approaches a Bedouin tent in the desert.
In the modern city of Amman, diyafa showed up in a handful of salted melon seeds our taxi driver passed back to us without a word. On our walk to dinner, a vendor gave us a free taste of a freshly cracked almond--he broke the shell with his hands--and a dried fig covered in powdered sugar. At the outdoor eatery Hashem (where I had the most creamy, garlicky, spicy, delicious hummus of my life), the table next door passed over a falafel ball stuff with onions and peppers. They hardly paid attention as we ate it, as though we were already members of their family. The waiter, Said, wearing a muscle T-shirt and a big toothy smile, shook my hand. "Welcome to Jordan," he said.
George and Lorene Vance
6/14/2012 09:31:19 am
Hi Jenna and Mike..just got on facebook. Hope to follow you more. Hashem means God in Hebrew, wonder if it means the same in Jordan?
6/18/2012 03:33:13 am
Hi George and Lorene! I'm not sure exactly where the restaurant gets its name, but I would guess that it comes from the full name of the country of Jordan: the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. This country is ruled by a king from the Hashemite royal family, which traces its roots back to the Prophet Muhammed. Here's some more info: http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/hash_intro.html.
6/14/2012 11:00:40 pm
jennica - thank you for taking us on your journey !! you make it all so real in so few words ! sending love, light and best wishes to you both on your travels !
6/18/2012 03:34:07 am
Thank you so much for reading, Debb! You are so generous with your words, and I truly appreciate your support!
6/19/2012 04:49:32 pm
Do you plan to come to France during your trip ?
6/27/2012 05:12:30 pm
Alors, pas cette fois, Laurent! J'espère te visiter encore un jour!
Mary Winston Nicklin
6/21/2012 11:41:50 pm
6/27/2012 05:14:49 pm
Hi Mary! Thanks for your note! Yes, we did go to Petra and Wadi Rum. What an amazing country Jordan is! We had no idea we would come to the Middle East on this trip, but I'm truly glad we did. We are now in Akko, Israel. Then we're heading to Turkey in a few days.
Mary Winston Nicklin
7/3/2012 08:51:49 pm
Cool! Cannot wait to read about your Turkey adventures. I cried the last time leaving Istanbul :)
7/4/2012 01:19:40 am
Can`t wait to read your stories about Romania too! Hope to see you soon here !
7/10/2012 12:56:08 am
Thank you, Ruxandra! We're planning on visiting Sinaia, Brasov, Sighisoara, and Sibiu. Could you please remind me where you live?
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