We went to Jerash today. It is a well know site in Northern Jordan about an hour north of Amman. And 30 miles south of the Syrian border. Everyone said it is safe up to about 7 miles from the border. The only reason not to feel safe in the 7 miles range is stray stuff occasionally comes across the border. I never felt unsafe. Here and in Turkey tourism is really down and it is a shame. There are amazing things to see. Jerash is no of the best intact Roman archialogical sites in the world. It certainly had the most standing columns I have ever seen at a site. I said it rivaled Ephesus, but that is an overstatement. Ephesus is a better site, but this had the main road and the columns that made it unique. The were two theaters and two temples that were both in excellent condition - so much so that they are used on occasion for events. We had good local transportation experiences (buses and taxis) to and back form the site. If you make it to Perta and get to Amman Jerash is worth the time. We did not visit the Dead Sea, but heard it too it worth the time. It can be pricey, but that is Jordan
Jordan overall experience.
First off Petra is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is it AWESOME. It is in my top five places to see on this Earth. That being said it was pricey. The Jordanian Dollar is worth about $1.50 USD. Everything from transportation to food was over prices. If I knew a bit more and worked a bit harder I could have gotten things cheaper and done things reasonably. I was not expecting this and it took us several days of sticker shock to get on track. It was not till we were back in Amman that we had it down. I could now get around without losing my shorts to get somewhere. Because of this expensive experience I would not return to Jordan. There is so much that I have not seen there, but the overly enthusiastic tactics left a bad taste in my mouth so to speak. I know the economy is really hurting, but screwing me over is not the fix. A public bus can get you anywhere. Use a taxi for short trips only (to the bus station). Always negotiate or use a metered taxi – ALWAYS. When they say 5 Dinars it should be 2 and you can settle for 3. If they refuse to come down just say “meter” and it will be down in one second or walk away. We had driver wanting to drive us to Jerash for 60 JD and then 50 and then 45 and as a last ditch effort he went to 35. We did it on the bus for 10. You have to use the taxis but only use them to get to the bus station. Renting a car is another way to go. Jordan seemed to be easy for drivers.
Our mistakes were trying to get to Petra on the first night. We should have stayed in Amman the first and second night and then taken the bus to Petra and then not being prepared for the salesmanship. I was ready in other areas for this, but not in Jordan.
I am back in Turkey and I am much more relaxed. They are still trying to sell me rugs and everything, but the volume seems to be manageable.
GO TO PETRA and see this amazing place. There is no question there. Use the buses. No matter what you hear they are available.
Conspiracy Theory proposed by myself or as one Ancient Alien theorist thinks - Jordanian Taxi drivers are aliens and have conspired to make you think bus are not available to take you to your destination. And my hair is better than his! … but then again everyones hair is better than his.