Kelowna traveller Gina Petrovich in Jordan. (Instagram)

Kelowna traveller Gina Petrovich in Jordan. (Instagram)

Getting over the hump: Breaking down misconceptions of the Middle East

Kelowna traveller Gina Petrovich is sharing her perspective on her journey in Jordan

Wandering between the walls of a deep canyon, each turn offering an impressive new perspective of what was once a bustling frankincense run for the Nabateans many moons ago.

The impressive echo of horse hooves trotting on the rock path and the smell of frankincense and myrrh enveloped my nose as I took that last turn, the turn I had anticipated for so long and that would leave me speechless. I gazed up in awe at a magnificent and perfectly engineered building carved into the side of a rock face. Carefully dodging a caravan of camels to get a better view of the treasury with a small fragrant Bedouin tea in my hand, I stopped and gasped. This was Petra.

Does this sound like an excerpt from a fantasy novel? This description only begins to sum up the magical, unforgettable and sometimes very intense experience I had in Jordan during a two-country visit to the Middle East.

READ MORE: Kelowna wanderer offers insights on staying safe while travelling

I carefully and meticulously prepared for this solo journey to a region of the world that continuously surpassed my expectations, challenged my beliefs and sometimes my confidence.

With safety being a prime concern, I took into consideration as many of the customs and etiquettes as I could. Jordanians are more than willing to forgive mistakes and oversights made by Westerners, but extra points are given to those who appear to have made an effort.

As most travellers know, no matter how much you research, nothing really prepares you for the moment you touch down. Within 20 minutes of leaving the airport in Jordan’s capital Amman, I was plunging warm zaatar pita into the best hummus I’ve ever had while acquainting with my driver Firas. It became immediately clear to me that this would not be a weight loss vacation. We discussed our plan of action to highlight Jordan in the 7 days I had before I would cross the Border into Israel.

READ MORE: Getting over the hump: Kelowna wanderer offers silver lining to the unexpected

When you think of Jordan, I’d guess that Petra would be one of the first things you picture. I spent two days exploring the City of Mysteries which is one of the new seven modern wonders of the world. While this place left me in jaw-dropping awe there is so much more to Jordan than Just Petra. For an outdoorsy nature lover like myself, the entire country was a paradise offering a variety of opportunities to get dirty and explore.

The ancient Roman ruins of Jerash just north of the capital are a must-see and (in my opinion) rival Rome itself.

The Dead Sea is worth a day and night. Floating in the lowest point on earth and treating your skin to a famous mud pack are rights of passage for visiting the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Try and sneak away from the crowds at the main beaches (this is where having a knowledgeable local driver comes in extra handy) and find a secluded piece of shoreline to experience salt formations and some solitude.

Road travel in Jordan is an event in itself. Winding desert roads with dramatic canyons and impressive mountains all make being on-the-road rather enjoyable.

Be warned that the regulations are very different than here at home. Just hold your breath and hope for the best.

READ MORE: Kelowna traveller finds the benefits of tours

When we hear “the Middle East” it’s hard not to immediately think of conflict and war. Those thoughts were in my mind the duration of my planning prior to my departure and caused me some concern and those close to me. Jordan shares borders with some countries known to have conflict like Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq, so these concerns are understandable.

READ MORE: Use your travel time wisely

Now when I think of Jordan, the words conflict and war will be replaced by memories of out-of-this-world landscape, hospitable people, and history so rich that the thought of anywhere else comparing is overwhelming.

There will also be a large memory of the best falafels I have ever had.

Gina Petrovich is a Kelowna-based wanderer with a knack for adventure. She’s now sharing her adventures with the Capital News in a bi-monthly column.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

Serving alcohol has been altered in the Central Okanagan Public Schools policy regarding rental of school facilities for after-school hours events. (Contributed)
Alcohol option opened up at Central Okanagan school facilities rented for events

Central Okanagan Board of Education retains final approval for after-hours event approvals

Voting day for the upcoming Central Okanagan Board of Education by-election is June 26. (Contributed)
Central Okanagan school board election set for June 26

Kelowna voters will go the polls to fill vacant Kelowna trustee seat

Two bikes that were stolen after a West Kelowna parking garage was looted on April 3. Photo: Crime Stoppers Central Okanagan
Parking garage looted in West Kelowna

A car was broken into and six storage lockers were ransacked

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

Penticton bylaw officers tore down a “pretty significantly sized” homeless camp underneath the bridge near Riverside Drive Friday, April 16 morning. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton bylaw tears down ‘significantly sized’ homeless camp under bridge

Many residents had made complaints about the camp before it was torn down

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Ford F-350s have been targeted in the North Okanagan by auto thieves since February 2021, Vernon North Okanagan RCMP data shows. (Gene J. Puskar - The Canadian Press/AP file)
Auto thieves target older Ford F-350s in Vernon: RCMP

Vernon Mounties remind all motorists no vehicle is immune to auto crime

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Most Read