Dear JLA Students,
Here is some information about life in Jordan.
Cultural Consideration/Public Appearance:
Jordan is primarily a Muslim country, although the freedom of all religious is protected. Muslim Women's clothing often covers their arms, legs and hair. Western women are not subject to these customs, but very revealing clothing is never appropriate, and conservative dress is advisable for both men and women in the old part of Amman (Downtown), and outside the cities. Shorts are rarely worn by either sex, and would be out of place in the downtown Amman area. Topless sunbathing is prohibited and one- piece swimsuits are preferred, although two-piece swimsuits are acceptable in hotel pools. Public displays of affection are rare; however, it is not considered unusual for friends to hold hands, regardless of their gender.
Taxis are inexpensive and often the most convenient form in Jordan, even over substantial distances, such as the trip between Amman and Aqaba. Private taxis are painted yellow; they can be taken from ranks outside larger hotels, or hailed in the street. Taxis have meters, but these are not always used at night, so it is advisable to agree the cost beforehand. The same applies on long journeys. Taxi drivers are friendly, know the city well, and usually speak English.
It is considered appropriate for a woman to sit in the back of the taxi, even when the only passenger; a man, on the other hand, should sit in the front. Tipping is not required, but it is customary to add about 300 fils to the price of the meter.
There are plenty of delicious snacks to be found in restaurants and street stalls. Try these:
· Shawarma, also called sandweech, thinly sliced beef or lamb cut from vertical spit and served in flat pita bread. Chicken shawarma or taouk is good too.
Falafels are small
deep-fried balls of a paste made from chickpeas, onions, parsley and spices; it
is usually served wrapped in pita bread with tahina and salad.
JLA is very close to a commercial area where you can find a number of restaurants and takeaway food.
Currency & Money Exchange:
The Local currency is the Jordanian Dinar; symbol JD, Which is often called "jaydee". There are 1, 5,10,20,50 JD Notes. The dinar is divided into 100 piasters (pronounced "pee-aster") or 1000 fils ("fills"). The Fils is the unit most commonly used, and you will usually see prices written as 4.750, that is 4 JD and 750 fils. Coins come in the following denominations: 10, 25, 50 and 100 fils, 250 fils, and 500 fils. It useful to vary some coins and low denomination 1 JD and 5 JD notes, since Jordanians rarely carry change with them.
Currency can be exchanged at major banks, exchange booths. Street money- changers are best avoided. Exchange rates are set daily by the Jordanian central bank.
Credit Cards are accepted at hotels, restaurants and larger shops, including American Express, Visa, Diners Club and Master card.
American Express has an office in Amman (Tel: 06-5607075), and an agent in Aqaba (Tel: 03-2013757).
Many Small shops still prefer cash payment in Jordanian currency. Automated teller machines (ATMs) are increasing in Jordan, credit cards can be used for cash advances at banks that are linked with a credit card network.
Banks are open Sunday to Thursday, 08:30 AM - 15:00 AM. The larger banks have branches in cities and towns throughout the country. Currency can also be exchanged at exchange booths that are everywhere.
Telephone Area Codes:
02 Ajloun, Jarash, Irbid, Mafraq, Umm Qays, North Shuna
03 Karak, Wadi Musa (Petra), Ma'an, Wadi Rum, Aqaba
05 Azraq, Salt, Pella, Jordan valley, Madaba, Hammamat Ma'in. Dead Sea
The International country code is 962
To call a number outside Jordan, dial 00, followed by the country code, area code and the number required.
The main Arabic daily papers are Al-Rai daily newspaper, Addustour daily newspaper, AlGhad daily newspaper.
The main English Daily paper is The Jordan times. A weekly English- Language paper, The Star, is published on Thursdays and has a French-language supplement, foreign newspaper are available at hotels and some shops.
JLA has a small bookshop close to it where you can buy any of these papers.
Public Holidays & Ramadan:
Banks, Businesses, Government offices and many shops are closed all day on public holidays.
New Year's Day 1st January
King Abdullah II's Birthday 30th January
Labour Day 1st May
Independence DAY 25th May
The late king Hussein's Birthday Anniversary 14th November
Christmas Day 25th December
There are also several public holidays whose dates are not fixed. These include Easter (celebrated in the spring) and the following Islamic holidays, which are base on the lunar calendar:
Eid Al-Fitr a 4 or 5 day holiday marking the end of Ramadan
Eid Al-Adha a feast at the end of the Hajj, or month of pilgrimage to Mecca.
First of Muharam Islamic New Year
Eid Al-Isra' wal Mi'raj Celebrating the visit of the prophet Mohammed to heaven.
The Birthday of Prophet Mohammad
Ramadan is a holy month of fasting, the date of which varies according to the Islamic lunar calendar. During Ramadan, Alcohol is not sold, except to non- Muslims in larger hotels. Smoking, eating and drinking in public is prohibited during the hours of daylight. Many stores, banks and offices open late at 9:00 h, and close early at 14:00 h.
From October through March, Jordan is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time: The rest of the year, it is three hours ahead of GMT. Jordan is seven hours ahead of US Eastern Time.
During summer it is 3 hour ahead of GMT.
The Electrical system is based on 220 AC Volts, 50 cycles, and requires rounded two-pronged wall plugs. Visitors from the USA will need a transformer: most hotels can provide one.
Jordan is an unusually safe and friendly place to travel. People are always helpful whether in an emergency or otherwise. It is generally safe to walk around at any time of day or night. However, it is sensible to take obvious precautions: look after your belongings and keep valuables in the hotel safe. Lost belongings should be reported to the police. If you lose your passport, contact your embassy.
JLA has filtered water and their water is considered safe to drink. For delicate stomachs, bottled water is cheap and readily available. Water is a precious resource in Jordan, and visitors are asked not to waste it unnecessarily.
Pharmacies can provide medication for minor ailments, but travelers should bring any special medication they normally take, in case it is not available. There are a number of all-night pharmacies in Amman listed daily in the Jordan Times. JLA has one very close pharmacy. But generally Pharmacies are in all main streets in Amman.
Few Specific Facilities for the physically handicapped exist in Jordan, although local people are as helpful as one could wish for and will do their best to assist. Nevertheless, the accessibility of some tourist sites is very limited, and it is advisable to call ahead and establish what is possible. In Petra, horse-drawn carriages provide access to the main sites.
The Jordanian parliament passé a law requiring all new public construction to provide wheelchair access, and many other improvements are also being made. The major intersections at the circles in Amman now have sidewalk ramps, for example.