"As Salt, Jordan" by John Jessen
In the north of Jordan, it is possible to travel cheaply and quickly by bus. From Amman to the mountainous city of As Salt, the bus clips quickly along the highway at regular intervals, depositing passengers in As Salt within an hours’ time.
Upon arrival, As Salt immediately distinguishes itself from Amman as quieter and more pedestrian friendly. Friends and I ambled in and out of shops, receiving customary Jordanian gifts of coffee, samples of sweets, and offers of meals and personal tours. Here we met many hospitable Jordanians genuinely glad to have visitors in their shops, homes, and city.
While walking up the hill, not 20 minutes after disembarking the bus, we met a young Jordanian in the street. While we stopped to speak with him he made a few phone calls and from around the corner a waiter came with cups filled with mint leaves and tea for all of us. After tea and cigarettes in the street, our friend led us around As Salt, showing us some of the city’s hidden treasures. Among our stops were the Ottoman museum, souqs, churches, and bellavistas.
We followed our new friend around the city as he made phone call after phone call arranging things for his new guests. Up shaded stairways, cool drinks in hand, I could not help but compare Jordanian hospitality to hospitality in my own country.
In Jordan, it has been my experience that men and women take traditions of hospitality seriously. Pleasant, giving, and listening Jordanians have insisted on accommodating me at every turn in the road. However, Jordanian’s won’t take one “no” for an answer, so turning down an offer may take a few minutes.
As a result of Jordanian hospitality my itinerary often goes out the window, as it did in As Salt. My advice is to cast caution to the wind and enjoy the famous Jordanian hospitality seeing where the path leads you. As in As Salts streets, people around Jordan make visiting the country a once in a life time experience.