Jordan Chronicles 3: Aqaba (exploring the city), Day 1

March 25, 2016: After being dropped safely in the city centre of Aqaba, I met my first couch-surfing (CS) host Omar who happened to be the best dive-master in Aqaba. Because he already had informed me earlier about his time shortage, I dropped my bags at his dive-center and then met up my second couch-surfing host Eiyad who promised to show me around. At first, Eiyad took me on a trip to the Red Sea on his cousin’s glass bottom boat. It was a very nice experience!

After the boat ride, we had Jordanian tea in the beach and because we both were very hungry, we headed to his house where he introduced me to his lovely family. His family was very conservative (South of Jordan is the most conservative part of Jordan), but very welcoming to me and wanted to know a lot about India and the Bollywood films !;) They also offered me to show how to wrap an Arab scarf and complimented me a lot. Meanwhile, Eiyad prepared BBQ chicken in Jordanian style and I ate together with his big family.

By this time, it was already evening and Eiyad took me to the local market to check out how Jordanians live normally. After an hour of exploring the local specialities, he dropped me back at the Aqaba beach where Omar  (my CS host with whom I would stay in Aqaba) promised to pick me up after finishing work.

The Aqaba public beach was very very crowded and all Arab women were wearing hijabs. I found myself to be stared at by everyone around me. Thankfully, Omar arrived soon and took me to his place to drop the bags. He had a very cute dog (Sascha) at his place, a big apartment where I had a lot of privacy. After having dinner, we headed out to the city to enjoy the Aqaba nightlife!

To my surprise, Aqaba was fled with American tourists (most of them arrive on cruises and stay in big resorts for which Aqaba tops in Jordan), Buffalo Wings and McDonalds ! :P. Drinking amongst tourists was not uncommon (although not promoted) and you can easily get a couple of beers in the city centre till 2 in the night. Omar introduced me to his nice diving friends and it was a fun night meeting local Jordanians and listening to their stories. He promised to take me diving and snorkeling the next morning. 🙂

Read my next post on how was snorkeling in Red Sea here: Jordan Chronicles 4: Aqaba Day 2

Missed my previous post on how I managed to get to Jordan from Amsterdam? It’s here: Jordan Chronicles 2: Amsterdam to Aqaba

Jordan Chronicles 2: The journey from Amsterdam to Aqaba

Amsterdam: On March 24th, with a camera, a book, a backpack paired with comfortable sneakers and without sleep for past 28 hours, I arrived at the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. I had booked myself a round trip to Amman with Turkish Airlines (345 € round trip) with 3 hours layover each way in Istanbul (the total flight time each way was around 11 hours). My flight from Amsterdam was a bit delayed and so I used that time to take a few selfies, start reading my book and like any other travel nomad I was exploiting the free WiFi  in the airport to update my Spotify playlist and kept checking what is not to be missed in the places I have decided to go in Jordan!

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All set to start my trip

Istanbul: I arrived in Istanbul very late (midnight), but still didn’t  want to miss my favorite Turkish Kebabs and hence ordered myself a plate! I have been flying with Turkish Airlines few times now,and I definitely recommend this dish in the picture below.

Amman to Aqaba transit: Finally I arrived in Amman early morning at 4am and got my Visa on Arrival (read more about it here). After immigrations, I moved to the domestic terminal to check in my Royal Jordanian flight from Amman to Aqaba from where I would start my journey! My flight to Aqaba was a very short one (55 minutes) and came with a heavy price tag (55 €). Thankfully it was on time and not to my surprise, I was the only female traveller without a hijab! I had already read that South of Jordan is very conservative (may be due to its proximity to Saudi Arabia) and hence I had dressed myself accordingly with full sleeves and trousers.

After arriving at Aqaba, I collected my backpack and headed towards the airport exit. There was no public transportation available and I decided to try my luck at hitch-hiking. I was very lucky to be picked up by a group of photographers (open-minded young people speaking very good english) and they safely dropped me in the city centre where my couch-surfing host had asked me to wait.

Read  my next post on what I did in Aqaba the first day here: Jordan Chronicles 3: Aqaba Day 1

Missed my previous post on knowing Jordan in general? It’s here: Jordan Chronicles 1: Nutshell