Jordan was everything I hoped and expected Egypt to be, but wasn't. After having such a chaotic time in Cairo, I was nervous about what Jordan would be like. I was surprised and relieved when my cab driver dropped me off in Abdun Square in Amman where I was meeting my friend.
Amman is much more developed than I expected. It was what i imagined Cairo to be from the way everyone had spoken of it. The buildings and streets had more of a European feel to it. I wasn't stared at everywhere i went. The driving was still chaotic, but no where near the insanity of Cairo. I didn't feel like I was playing "Frogger" with my life every time I attempted to cross the road.
The Souk down in the old city had a more similar feel to Cairo, with everyone staring and saying, "welcome," as if it's the only English word they've ever been taught. But even the bustle of the Old City cannot compare to the craziness I experienced in Egypt.
A lot of people I encountered found Amman to be a bit dull. Maybe compared to other Middle Eastern cities it is, but it was also very comfortable. The week I spent with my friend was so relaxing and fun! We had Kanufa at the world famous Habibeh shop in the Old City. We had lunch at a little shop called "Books @ Cafe," that is a "Bus Boys and Poets" in the making, and we spent a wonderful two days at the Dead Sea.
The most incredible experience was eating Mensaf in Karak. We went with my friend, her sister, and her co-workers to one of her co-worker's Aunt's home. While we drove from Amman and stopped to tour the ruins of a church and the Karak castle, the Aunt and the rest of the family cooked the Mensaf. It's a rice based dish with goat, served with the head and all. There is a goat cheese dressing that is poured over the dish just before you dig in with your hands! It was amazing, and like any curteous guest, when I was offered a bit of the tongue, I ate it!
After Mensaf traditionally you serve coffee. Mostly because the meal is so heavy and you feel as though you could fall asleep standing up. The coffee was delicious and one of the family members read the grains in my cup afterward. First she asked if I had 30 JOD in my wallet. I did. Exactly! I was impressed and ready and willing to listen to anything else she had to say. She also told me I had a long life line, that I would be receiving a gift from a short person (very descriptive!), that I was nervous about something but, despite everything, it would all turn out fine in the end (my trip!), that I recently met someone who spoke with his hands and I would be surprised to meet him again (that totally happened!) and that I will have good luck, which apparently appears in the shape of a baby in the coffee grounds. Weird because I've never found babies to be good luck before!
The six days spent with my friend in and around Amman were the quickest days of my trip so far. I had so much fun and it was such a great time. We were both scheduled to go our seperate ways out of Jordan on Wednesday, but I was loving the country so much that I extended my time for an extra three days to make a practically mandatory trip to Petra. So instead, at five a.m. on Wednesday I left for the bus station.