How a bus ride turned into a magic moment in Jordan

Sometimes the most amazing travel experiences occur in the most unlikely places. How a bus ride turned into a magic moment in Jordan.

There’s a story that goes with this picture.

This photograph captures one of the most memorable moments during my 10-day tour of Jordan; one among many amazing experiences in this magical country.

I knew visiting Jordan would be incredible. My husband had loved his time here in the mid-1990s, and had hinted about seeing great things, like Petra and the Dead Sea.

What was a wonderful surprise was seeing great things in unexpected places, like the side of the road.

What happens when a broken down car blocks a road? In Canada, there will often be anger, loud honking of horns, and maybe someone would get out to help. But everyone would be miffed at the fool who hadn’t kept his car in condition so it would break down and inconvenience everyone else, especially you.

Just south of Ajloun, on our way back to Amman after a day visiting with local Jordanians and touring the 1,000 year old Arabat Castle, our bus got stuck on this narrow road behind this broken down car. Our guide – the wonderful, impish Mohammed – got out to see what could be done. Local police and passersby also got into the act, not to ticket or chastise or yell, but to work together to move the car out of the way. It took about 10 minutes to craft the solution, to the cheers of all observing the scene. Mohammed re-boarded the bus, reporting that the police “apologized on behalf of the country of Jordan.”

What I loved about this was the nonchalant, quiet way in which a common problem, which likely occurs daily, was dealt with by many people coming together to craft a solution. Despite the long line of cars behind our bus, there were no horns or loud voices or angry faces. Problem. Solved.

As an outsider, I attribute this cooperation and lack of conflict to the fact that Jordanians are enormously generous people, used to helping each other out, as things aren’t always easy. Self-reliance and resiliency are traits that I observed again and again throughout my visit, from this scene in northern Jordan, to the deserts in Feynan and Wadi Rum.

The way in which people treat each other, and visitors, speaks volumes about their culture. The friendliness and warmth that we experienced left a powerful impression on me that was constantly reinforced during my time in this magical country.

Much more to come in the months ahead as I chronicle #myjordanjourney.

Photo Credit: C Laroye

Have you visited Jordan? What were your impressions of its people? Share your comments below.

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