Amman, Jordan

I had decided to stay at the Marriott my first two nights in Amman as I had a ton of Marriott points and I figured it would be nice to stay somewhere western the first couple of days while I got acclimated.

I got a wakeup call for 11am and headed up to my room for some much needed sleep. My clock said 4am and I quickly fell asleep. I awoke just before 11 and forced myself to get up, as I wanted to try and get on a local time schedule as quickly as possible.

After a quick breakfast I grabbed a taxi down to the Roman Theatre, one of the principal historical and tourist sites in Amman. The taxi driver tried to rip me off by charging me 2 Jordanian Dinars for the trip (1 JD, about $1.25 US is the standard fare anywhere in Amman and I only had to go a few miles) but after accusing him of trying to take advantage of a foreigner he backed down and I gave him 1 JD.

The Roman Theatre of Amman was built in the second century AD when Amman known then as Philadelphia was a major Roman trading post. The theatre held 6000 people and is still used today for concerts and plays. It is free to enter though I was accosted by several guides offering to give me a tour of the place. It really isn't that big and not being much of a fan of organized tours I managed to fend them off. I wandered around the theatre for awhile and finally sat down near the top to enjoy the view and just get some bearings on where exactly I was.

It wasn't long before a man came up to me and asked if he could talk to me. It turns out that he was a student at the nearby university and after me a million questions about where I was from, what my country was like and cranking some Bob Marley on his ghetto blaster for me (he was a big fan) he thanked me for taking the time to talk to him and left.

I left the theatre and decided to wander around the streets of Amman and just get a feel for the place. It felt very strange to be wandering around hearing Arabic music coming out of shops, watching the traffic chaos and the bustle of people go by. It was also strange in that I didn't see any other Non-Arabs, which made me a little bit nervous.

I decided to walk up to the Citadel which was at the top of a huge hill. The Citadel was created sometime around the 6th or 7th century AD and was a fortress on the highest point in Amman. The views of Amman from the Citadel were wonderful and I sat up there for an hour until the sun was going down.

From there I walked back through town and up the hill to a shwarma stand that was recommended by the lonely planet guide book. By the time I reached the place I was famished and scarfed down a couple of Chicken Shwarma's (chicken cooked on a spit, wrapped in Pita bread with, tomatoes and a tzatziki type sauce) in about 30 seconds. The cost including a bottle of water was about $1 US and they were very good.

After that it was back to the hotel for an anxiously awaited night of sleep as the next morning I was off to Damascus.

I woke up early about 8 am and after breakfast checked out of my hotel and hopped in a cab to go to the service taxi stand (service taxis are shared taxis taking 5-7 people between cities). On the cab ride to the service taxi stand I asked the driver how much for a private taxi to take me to Damascus. He told me it would be $30 and I told him that would be fine so we took off for Damascus about three hours away.

It was nice having the private taxi as the driver could help me with the border formalities and managed to get my $5 Jordanian exit fee waived as I had been in the country only two days.

After three hours we reached Damascus and I checked into my hotel.

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