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Being a Tourist

When I first got here to Jordan, I was excited to see all of the fascinating and historic places that dot the map across this country. But, at the same time, I really didn’t want to be lumped in with “tourists”. It’s not that I think there is anything wrong with tourism itself but rather it is those tourists who are loud and rude and know nothing about the culture that bother me. In a word, I find them disrespectful.

So, I did my best to be an “interested outsider”. Someone who knows enough about the culture to be respectful but acknowledges that he still has a lot to learn. It is easy enough not to dress like a tourist (don’t have a Hawaiian shirt or shorts with me) and I’m not about to put on a fanny pack. I try not to get caught looking at my map and am always very discreet when taking pictures. I still stand out but there isn’t a whole lot I can do about my blond hair and blue eyes.

After having been here for more than a year, I don’t get to do as much traveling as I did at first. Just like at home, life gets busy and you have responsibilities to attend to. But on occasion, I still get to do a little sight seeing. It’s kind of odd to have your “hometown”, where you live and work, turned into a exotic travel destination by doing nothing more than deciding “I’m going to be a tourist today”.

The past couple of days I decided to do just that. I did a little sight seeing here in Amman and some in a nearby town called Madaba. I’m going to take a few posts this next week to share about some of the things I saw.