Fata Morgana, Jordan’s Finest

Was it safe to travel to Jordan? I asked myself almost nine years ago, as its neighbouring situation deteriorated, as Europe seemingly started living under terror.

A forum post was published, in my attempt to shed some peace into the hearts of my friends and parents, who didn’t want me to go. Following a set of encouragements, raving about how welcome I’d feel in the kingdom, there was a weirder reply. It talked about drugs, rape, and deceit. I didn’t want to understand it then or maybe I was simply rejecting the negative of my future voyage. By the time I decided to reread it, the moderators had already removed it.

The Desert Highway, Jordan


I flew to Amman and expected the trip to reiterate my time in Iran, one year and a half prior. Apart from the ecruesque shades of Old Amman and Shobak Castle, Jordan felt flat in my heart. I dreaded the hassle, I managed to look beyond the fake smiles, yet I didn’t give in to pessimism.

View from Shobak Castle, Jordan


Then came Petra. Free teas on a restaurant terrace facing the hotel. Piercing gazes of the local beaus. Advances I would not accept. It made me smile – these guys were trying to trick ME… the girl who had practically talked about and settled relationships her whole life. 'Cause honey your soul can never grow old, it's evergreen’ lingered on the edges of the window cases as I went to sleep, in one last attempt to make me change my mind for the following day.

Sad Petra, Jordan


I didn’t. The teary eyes of the donkeys in the soulless Wonder of the World made me continue fast to the south, to the desert, into Wadi Rum. More stories emerged. This time, about secret places underneath the stars, wedding invitations, and fine gossip through the adjacent village. It sang about hearts shattered by sand spouts, about promises unhonoured.

In need of water to calm me down, I moved farther south. To Aqaba. The Red Sea was hiding colourful secrets underwater. The orangeish sunsets innocently submitted by e-mail seemed surreal at first. Their sender pushed on, pretty sure he had made a new victim, and took the story of his love to new heights. Destiny was in the cards, entangled with talks of his miserable life, trapped in the drama that feels synonymous with Jordan. He made me understand that there was indeed something far more dangerous than terrorism in the Middle Eastern country: love scamming women for money. Or sex. Sometimes visas.

I did get asked for a consistent amount in the end.

Luckily, I had also played my part well.

Behind every strong woman, there are life experiences that have shaped her and there is a wise man.

Unfortunately, many other women dreaming of ‘happily ever after’ get swept off their feet by the grand words of decadent romance …until they see them turn to dust.


/older unpublished piece, as an introduction to the trip to the country where it all started/

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