Trailblazer in Amman
Whenever I meet a foreigner or a tourist in Amman, the first question I get asked is “How do you feel about life in Jordan?”. My most concise answer would be “its tough yet fulfilling”. Here’s why.
Warmth and Moderation
Amman my home, is the capital city of Jordan. The city has a mellow ambience, offers a relaxed pace of life where you don’t necessarily feel the pressure to keep up with too many events on the city’s agenda. This is not to say that there isn’t much to offer, but rather that there is just enough social and cultural engagement for all to enjoy. From local music concerts, to art galleries, to sports events and excellent food outlets everywhere, this city will always cater to all the tastes in the world and will never cease to pleasantly surprise.
Despite the regional notoriety of Jordanians for their grimace, a notoriety that is often misplaced, their warmth is indisputable. Their hospitality and desire to help would always cut through the strongest of barriers. This warmth has often made me smile in appreciation.
In the midst of all the conflicts surrounding Jordan across all its borders, Amman offers an atmosphere of moderation; where people are adept at accepting differences as normal, it is either that or they choose to live in silent denial of such differences. [tweetthis]In the midst of all the conflicts surrounding Jordan across all its borders, Amman offers an atmosphere of moderation. @globalwoman[/tweetthis]
The society is a largely conservative Muslim one; which has thus far been successful in collectively rejecting any form of religious extremism that threatens the stability of the country. In doing so Jordan has became a Middle Eastern safe haven for locals, refugees and visitors alike, where you can take a stroll down the street at any time of day or night without having to worry at all for your safety.
As mentioned in the introduction of this post, life for me in Amman is fulfilling yet tough. Tough because I’m yet to be granted full access to opportunity as men in this society are. It is tough because I’m a nonconformist humanist who does not buy the gender roles rhetoric, while the rest of the society does.
It is tough because I’m often viewed within the societal frame of reference for women, as some man’s daughter, sister or later wife and mother.
Still a Long Way to Go for Equality for Women
Life in Jordan for a single woman with a global perspective, is tough because I refuse to submit to norms I do not subscribe to. But the fight is on and things are beginning to unfold which will serve the best interest for gender equality in Jordan. [tweetthis]But the fight is on and things are beginning to unfold which will serve the best interest for gender equality in Jordan. @globalwoman[/tweetthis]
GlobalWoman’s 7 must dos in Amman
- The Citadel: one of my favorite places to visit in Amman, a ruins site from the Roman and the Umayyad eras, it overlooks the beautiful mountainous skyline of eastern Amman (a bit of trivia: did you know that Amman used to be called Philadelphia?)
- Downtown Amman: the old city center, where you can enjoy authentic shopping experiences for souvenirs, antiques, jewelry, spices, perfumes and food.
- Al-Rashid Court café: my favorite place to go to break taboos, the place is known to be a destination for men only, yet I still go there to enjoy a cold glass of Hibiscus tea a good shisha, and if I have company a good game of Backgammon.
- Rainbow Street: one of the main attractions in Amman for both locals and visitors. Rainbow street is full of food joints that offer a wide verity of flavors. Make sure to visit Falafel Al Quds for the best Falafel sandwiches in town, Q restaurant for a Camel Burger, and Da Esmat Italian restaurant chain for the excellent hearty food.
- The Boulevard: the newly envisioned downtown, a space that offers utility for musical and theatrical performances, and many other outstanding food outlets (Jubran Lebanese restaurant there is highly recommended).
- Jabal Al-L’Wiebdeh: maybe considered the art district of Amman, the neighbourhood is the hippest in town. When you are there make sure to visit Rumi café for its extraordinary selection of coffee brews and exotic teas.
- Al-Hussein Youth City: a big sports campus that includes spaces for different sports from soccer, to basketball to Squash and many others, but I go there to run or fast walk on their nature track.
- Who: Israa is a thirty something year old Arab woman, born and raised in Jordan to Palestinian refugee mother and father. She holds a master of science degree in Environment Management and Policy from Lund University in Sweden and is now on top of her job as the sustainability manager for the Jordan branch of a large international food and beverage corporation.
- Israa’s superpowers: Empathy and perseverance
- Her revolution? A revolution of reasoning, the power to practice free well for self-determination for all, women and men alike. [tweetthis]A revolution of reasoning, the power to practice free well for self-determination for all, women and men alike.[/tweetthis]
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