In addition to doing some sight seeing here in Amman, I also recently got to go to Madaba. Madaba is a town south of Amman that has a very rich cultural history. It is most known for the mosaics that artisans have produced there for centuries. But I’ll talk more about that in another post. I have to get to Madaba first.
There are a number of ways to get to Madaba from Amman. You could rent a car for a day for 20 to 30JD (~ $28 to $42 U.S. dollars). You could get a taxi for about 15JD (~ $21). Or you could take the bus for .65JD (~ 90 cents). Hummm… which one should I go with… ?
After deliberating for an entire nanosecond, I decided to take the bus. If you read my earlier post about riding the bus you probably won’t be surprised to hear that taking the bus is always a bit of an adventure. You’re never 100% certain about where you’ll end up but the odds are in your favor that you’ll get where you want to go. And for less than a buck, I’ll take them odds.
So, I went to Ragadan Station to catch my bus to Madaba. There aren’t any signs to tell you which bus goes where and a bus that goes to one destination won’t necessarily be found in the same spot the next time. However, some buses do have their destination written on the front of the bus. Luckily for me, after just a little bit of looking, I found one labeled ‘Madaba’.
Upon boarding the bus, the driver gave me a strange look and asked me where I was going. After shaking off the feeling of deja vu, I told him “Madaba” and took my seat at the back of the bus near an open window. I got comfortable and looked forward to a pleasant ride. In all honesty, I enjoy riding the bus. I find it relaxing. Usually.
As the bus began to fill up, a man took the seat behind me and immediately decided he wanted the window closed (it was shared between our two seats). So much for the refreshing breeze. To add insult to injury, not terribly long after we had gotten on our way, this man and his friend both decide they need a cigarette.
Something to know about Jordan, if you ever plan on visiting here, is that smoking is permissible anywhere. Your taxi driver will smoke in the car with you. Your doctor will smoke in the clinic with you. I’ve seen restaurants that have “no smoking” signs above the tables and ash trays on the tables. So, on the bus, it is always possible someone might light up. You just hope that they aren’t sitting right behind you. With the window closed.
It wasn’t too long, though, before this guy and his friend got off and I was able to enjoy the fresh air of countryside. The ride from this point on was quite pleasant as we drove through ancient farmlands covered in olive groves or fields dotted with Bedouin tents. In what seemed like no time at all we were rolling into Madaba.