The last morning in Jordan was a hectic mess. I woke up to the sound of my alarm, skyped with my mom, and then ran out the door with my passport in hand and suitcases ready to go.
The morning before a flight never seems like a good time to sit down and calmly have breakfast, thought it is probably a good idea and probably healthy, it somehow never happens. This was one of those times. Breakfast was last priority on my mind, of course until I got to the bus and realized just how hungry I was.
I ran to the lobby of the hotel to meet my group as we figured out checkout procedures and for the third time on the trip explained that our internet was to be paid for by the Jordanian Embassy and therefore should be included in the room price.
We finally loaded our many massive suitcases into the bus and headed off to Queen Alia International Airport, where I ran to the ATM to get my final dinar withdrawal of the trip in order to pay our kind driver and tour guide a tip for their help on the trip.
On the run to the ATM, my keychain, which I had received on the first night for my “beautiful smile” fell on the ground and broke into pieces. I took this as a slightly bad omen, as the keychain was the symbol of the “evil eye,” which is supposed to protect you. Clearly, this was not the best thing that could happen in my final moments in Jordan…at the airport, about to board a plane. Fortunately, I still had my lucky travel necklaces, so I proceeded through the check-in.
The check-in, like many other security checkpoints in Jordan, includes a traditional bag check like most airports do, but in addition to that, due to the cultural and traditional restrictions, also includes a special body checkpoint for all females, who go through that instead of the usual metal detector. As fun as it was getting felt up for the third or fourth time on the trip, I found my way as quickly as possible to get my tickets and go through the long immigration line.
Another difference that I noticed in airport procedures in Jordan is that instead of having the ticketing right at the gate before boarding, the ticket check is right before the seating area, so that when the time comes to board, instead of an orderly line, it was much more of a “pile-in” into the place. It reminded me a bit of the streets in Amman, where we saw people walking right in the street. While there is something slightly unsettling about the disorder, there is also something a bit stiff about the way we do things here in America. Perhaps a bit of both wouldn’t do anyone any harm.
The 12 and a half hour flight back to the United States was not fun, to say the least, but the good company of my trip-mates, a couple glasses of wine, and several slightly mindless movies made it all a little better.
As I stepped back into America past immigration and security, and was asked:
“What was the purpose of your visit to Jordan?”
I was amazed that for the first time in my life, I got to reply:
“I was there for business.”
Not only was it business, but it was an amazing journalism press trip. Nobody knows when I will get a chance like this again, but I’d like to believe that this is the first of many press trips, where I will not only get the chance to travel around the world, but I will be doing it on business….as a journalist.