Thursday, August 09, 2012

TRAVEL :: Driving in Jordan

TRAVEL :: Driving in Jordan

Before I traveled to Jordan in May, I'd done very little research on the country. However, some of my students are Jordanian and like most people, they're proud of their country and their heritage and they encouraged me to visit.

So with my ounce of research, and some ambitious colleagues, we ventured to Jordan for six days. We'd all done about the same amount of research, some in slightly different areas. And though it all came together in the end, we were constantly on the Internet (when we could get access) trying to retrieve invaluable tourist tips and we didn't dare leave our trusty "Lonely Planet Jordan" too far behind.

Some of the road signs in Jordan. Taken May, 2012.

Although we rented a nice car to drive around Jordan, I must say that our deficit in research was most noticeable when it came to actually driving in Jordan. Though, at least, the driver's side is on the left, which is the same as in the U.S. (that's unlike some country's, like Cyprus, where the driver's side is on the right AND you drive on the right side of the road).

We didn't really get lost, but there were numerous times when we were uncertain about the direction that we were traveling. Seems finding a detailed map in Jordan's hard to come by. The Lonely Planet book had some maps, however, they just didn't provide us with a sense of clarity about navigating around the holy land. We didn't have a GPS, but I don't think it would have been much more useful.

The best map of Jordan (via Pat, the bike guy) that we found while searching online.

The biggest oversight was the signage. To our relief, there were signs in both Arabic and English, however, in many instances there were just images or symbols. We'd probably driven about 3 hours before we discovered the speed bump sign. We'd been hitting countless speed bumps, but we'd ignored the signs warning motorists about upcoming speed bumps; the signs were there. Needless to say, figuring that out made the rest of the road trip much 'smoother.'

The infamous 'speed bump' sign. Taken May 2012.

The roads were paved and we found the King's Highway to be exceptionally picturesque; greenery and valleys and lots of olive trees.

My advice for you if you're planning a trip to Jordan, get the rental car and hit the road. It's so much  more fun to piddle around and discover things on your own and at your own pace.

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