Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Heartening Testimonials

Monday’s attack on a group of tourists near the Roman Theater in Amman by a deranged man was shocking to say the least. One British tourist was killed and several others were injured including the Jordanian tourist policeman who was there on the scene.

With two of my four children working in the Jordan tourism industry, anything that threatens the industry, threatens their livelihood. It was therefore heartening to read the following testimonials from a group of American and Canadian journalists who are presently touring Jordan.
kag

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Hi, I just want everyone to know that on this my fifth day in Jordan I could not hope for a more hospitable and friendly country. From the wonderful experience of visiting the Royal Stables and meeting Princess Alia to walking through the unbelievable beauty of Petra where I have encountered innumerable friendly faces I cannot imagine a more perfect place to visit.

My first encounter with a Jordanian resident was on my flight to Amman. A gentleman that I spoke with only briefly upon landing asked if I had transportation to my destination and asked if he could offer me a ride to my hotel. Having prior arrangements I had to decline, but was grateful for the kind offer.

Only moments ago I was invited to have tea with a fine gentleman in Petra and was honored to be greeted so warmly and accepted the invitation. He sang greetings of welcome and made me feel as if I could come to visit at any time and that the welcome would always be the same. A new and constant friend!

I have had the opportunity to speak with many Jordanians in the past few days and have on every occasion been treated with kindness and friendliness. I have been approached in the open markets by people eager to learn of my place of residence and curious about my experience in their country. I feel fortunate to be in Jordan among such a pleasant and warm group. In spite of concerns for my safety by friends back home before my departure I feel extremely safe as I walk unescorted around the cities and the countryside, regardless of time of day or area of the city.

Having seen absolutely no signs of hostility and having been treated only with kindness and respect and can only repeat that I am most pleased to be in Jordan and look forward to the remaining days of my visit to wonderful Jordan.

With the utmost respect for my Jordanian friend - thank you all for this perfect visit.
Robert Painter
Travel Writer
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Nothing I have experienced ... including the Pyramids ... compares to Petra.

Walking to the "lost city" ... lost of course only to anyone who wasn't a Bedouin) ... through the narrow high gorge of the Siq you hear the crunch of the sandstone pebbles beneath your Nikes ... it's like walking on rubies ... the breeze is velvet on my skin ... it whispers in my ear as it cools and caresses me. It says softly, "Have I got a surprise for you!"

The walls of the siq are like a multi-colored and multi-layered rose, red, orange ... even lilac ... pudding that has flowed through this passageway and then at some point in time just slowed down and went into a state of splendid suspended animation ...

... the route undulates ... the striated sandstone walls and constantly changing hues ... make for a sensual stroll that is hypnotic ... gradually I feel the breeze getting stronger ... and then it just subsides ... and we are there ... before the Treasury ...

There are no tour groups here. Guess why. But please do not over-react. Don't fall into the clutches of CNN and ilk.

Petra is immense and goes on forever but ... the largest bunny warren on the planet.

Fast forward ... even past lunch ... to the camel race. Gisele our guide challenges me saying there is no way I can make it back to the Treasury before her. I choose my camel carefully ... breath into his nostrils, whisper salaam in his ear ... he winks ... and we're off at a full camel canter. Heels down, shoulders back. Gisele whoops ... I ululate in my best camel dialect Arabic ... and we cross the finish line together. One must be diplomatic.

This is followed by a two-hour hike UP ... the sandstone trail ... and a one-hour hike down. Gisele sings a childhood song ... the acoustics are magical ... I sing La Vie en Rose ... as I did in the Roman theatre in Amman two days ago.

Gisele's cell phone rings ... she's set it to ring a delightful tune ... it's the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities with the news she doesn't need right now. Tourists attacked in the same theatre in Amman where we were two days ago.

And yet ... we have felt no threat, have been in no danger. On the contrary, we have been embraced by all the Jordanians and everyone else we have met. It's been nothing but salaams and "Where you from? Canada? Welcome Canada!"

So, please listen to and watch the news with care. This is a safe and peaceful country.

We walk back up through the Siq.

We have tea with Mohammed, a Bedouin, whose cafe is in a cave in the side of a hill. He sings a Bedouin welcome to us and serves us strong black sweet tea. We leave and he kisses each of us on both cheeks and says "Please ... you come back."

Yes of course Mohammed.

Robert Fisher
Associate Producer
Travel Talk Radio Network (www.ttrn.com)

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I am currently part of a group of travel writers visiting Jordan as guests of the Jordan Tourist Board. We were in Petra when the news reached us about the tragic evens in Amman. Of course my first reaction was shock, horror, and sadness at this senseless act of violence committed against innocent people, who like us were visiting this fascinating country. I was also very sorry to learn that a Tourist police guard gave his life attempting to protect the tourists under attack.

From what I have been able to learn so far, this appears to have been the action of a deranged individual, and not a politically-motivated terrorist attack. Whatever the case, I sincerely hope that it does not impact negatively on Jordan and its important tourist industry. We have been treated with nothing but the utmost courtesy, hospitality, and friendliness during our travels throughout this country. I have visited many places in the world, but I honestly cannot think of one that can rival Jordan and its people in terms of the warm, sincere welcome we have received everywhere we have gone.

In my view, this tragedy would become even worse if it were to impact negatively on Jordan as a potential travel destination. This country and its people have so much to offer visitors, from world-renowned archaeological sites like Petra and Jerash to beautiful beach resorts like Aqaba, religious sites like Mount Nebo and the Dead Sea, and modern, sophisticated cities like Amman.

Under the leadership of HM King Abdullah II, Jordan represents an oasis of peace and stability in a region otherwise marked by violence and conflict. I sincerely hope that this isolated incident will not cause people to form a negative opinion of this beautiful country and its welcoming people. For my part, I am in the middle of my first, all-too-brief trip to Jordan, but I am absolutely sure that it will not be my last.

Peter Flaherty
Director of Programming,
Travel Talk Radio Network (www.ttrn.com)
pflaherty@sympatico.ca

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I have found Jordan to be the most friendly and welcoming people. A nation that is stable and secure...Island of peace surrounded by unrest or what we at home call being near a rough neighborhood. Our trip has been one of the most organized and stable tourism infrastructures I have worked with....The overall response from the journalists and media we interact with here are treating us with enthusiasm warmth and great appreciation for coming to Jordan...It is one of the best destinations I have visited...

We plan to continue our efforts to encourage charters through tour operators in North and South America niche markets.

Roy Lowey

Producer and Host Talking Travel
Travel Talk Radio Network (www.ttrn.com)
roy@ttrn.com

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Jordan is a stable friendly country-one of the safest places on planet earth. Say no terrorism. Say no fear. Jump on the next flight to Jordan. Stop letting a few terrorists change our daily lives.

Roger Canfield, reporting live, well and safe in Jordan

Internationall Travel News
rogercan@pacbell.net


3 Comments:

Blogger Huttonian said...

What a good post. I was horrified about the attack on tourists at the ampitheatre. But of course people will continue to flock to Jordan despite the worst that the terrorists can inflict on them. And pictures (most unlikely ones!)on Amman continue to attract large numbers of 'hits' See today's entry on www.huttonian.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 06, 2006  
Blogger Huttonian said...

I stand corrected. It is a Roman Theatre. No Ampis to it

Wednesday, September 06, 2006  
Blogger joladies said...

Dear Huttonian....you are forgiven! You are right...it is theater but because it has been called the ampitheater for so long, it is hard to break the (bad) habit. Thanks for your comments....they are always a delight and always welcome!!

Thursday, September 07, 2006  

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