Facts about Jordan you wouldn’t read in a guidebook

As I prepared for my time in Jordan I did a LOT of research about what culture, food, and life in Amman was going to be like. A lot of the information I found was helpful, but there are some things that guide books just don’t tell you!

I have been a long time lover of fun facts, so here is 50 fun facts about Jordan you probably wouldn’t read in a guidebook!

  1. Jordanians don’t use top sheets. Whether you’re in a hostel, home, or a luxury hotel, you will only every find one bottom sheet and a duvet.
  2. From the edges of Jordan, you can see Syria, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia.
  3. Most Jordanians are night owls, and it’s common to stay up until 12am-2am every night.
  4. The capital of Jordan, Amman, was once named Philadelphia.
  5. Children in Jordan are spoiled, and everyone knows it.
  6. Amman was built across seven hills called “jabals.” It now covers 19. Many neighborhoods within Amman are identified by their Jabal. One of my favorite neighborhoods, for example, is Jabal Weibdeh.
  7. The city is a desert on Friday mornings until 12pm, when everyone is at their homes or at the Mosque praying.
  8. All grocery stores are located on the bottom levels of shopping malls.
  9. All grocery store checkout lines are staffed with 2-3 employees. 1 employee scans, and 1-2 employees bag your groceries.
  10. Households in Jordan are delivered water on a weekly basis, and have a fixed amount of water to use every week.
  11. The 25th of every month is often really busy because everyone in Jordan gets paid on that day, and go out at night to celebrate.
  12. Jordanians drive on the right side of the road.
  13. 93% of Jordanians are Muslim.
  14. Jordan is SUPER hilly. Not the typical flat desert you might be imagining.
  15. It snows in Jordan during the winter time!
  16. Cats are considered sacred in Islam, so street cats are typically well cared for and frequently fed.
  17. You will be served coffee or tea and a dessert every time you visit someone else’s home, regardless of formality.
  18. The sidewalks in Amman are not bike or wheel friendly, sometimes not even walkable.
  19. It is normal to cross up to eight lanes of traffic (at one time!) when walking through the city. There are no pedestrian cross walks, so it’s everyone for themselves when you want to cross a street.
  20. Jordanians rarely use online video or streaming subscription services.
  21. While payment cards are widely accepted, cash is the primary method of payment used by Jordanians.
  22. Although women are allowed to and do work, it is unlikely you will ever have a woman as a waitress.
  23. Many Jordanians travel to Turkey and Saudi Arabia for vacation spots.
  24. It is illegal to say or publish anything negative or derogatory about the royal family.
  25. Public schools are better than private schools in Jordan.
  26. Many schools, public and private, are segregated by gender.
  27. You’re allowed to bring outside snacks into movie theaters.
  28. 98% of Jordan citizens are Arabs, so there is very little diversity, even within the capital of Amman.
  29. Currently, the COVID-19 vaccination rate is higher in the Zaatari refugee camp than the rest of the Jordan.
  30. It is indecent to watch a movie or TV show with a romantic scene in it, and even adults will skip it or turn it off.
  31. During the winter months, families in Jordan bring in portable propane heaters. There is seldom built in heating and cooling in even nice neighborhoods.
  32. Almost all housing in Amman are apartments.
  33. Children live with their parents until they marry, both men and women.
  34. It is common to marry at the age of 25 for women and 30 for men. Men must be able to provide for the woman and have a steady job and home before marrying her.
  35. While arranged marriages are uncommon, the families are highly involved in match making and the process of dating and engagement.
  36. Jordan has a lower crime rate than the United States.
  37. You don’t normally tip in Jordan, and if you do, it’s common to only tip 10%.
  38. Alcohol is expensive and subject to a 16% sales tax.
  39. Many women keep a hijab or scarf on a hook next to the front door, so they can throw it on if an unexpected visitor arrives.
  40. Almost all food is eaten with a spoon.
  41. Leftover food is never thrown away, and usually kept in the oven for 2-4 days.
  42. A box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal costs $11.28 in Jordan.
  43. 7Up or Pepsi are consumed with almost every meal.
  44. Jordanians eat 1 cooked/hot meal a day.
  45. Dinner is typically served between 4:30pm and 6pm.
  46. There is little to no open LGBTQ+ presence in Jordan. Most Jordanians will be shocked if you tell them you have a friend who is gay, and will ask you questions with a great sense of wonder and curiosity.
  47. The Jordanian Dinar is stronger than the US dollar. 1JD = $1.41
  48. One of the biggest brands in Jordan is called HiGeen. Kinda like “Hygiene”. They sell every kind of hygiene product you could imagine, and flood the grocery stores.
  49. The sound for the letter “P” does not exist in Arabic, and so it’s substituted with the sound for the letter “B”. For example, Bebsi (Pepsi), Barker (Parker), Billow (Pillow), Bizza (Pizza), etc.
  50. It’s uncommon to say “please” in Arabic and in Jordan. For example, instead of saying “Please pass me the salt,” you would just say “Pass me the salt.”

I hope you enjoyed and learned something new about Jordan!

Published by leahcooper

Class of 2022 Global Studies and Spanish Double Major SIT Amman, Jordan

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