An old tradition – relived
One of the best ways to learn about a new country, I have found, is to make friends with a local driver and then keep him or her for the whole trip. Usually that relationship starts from the trip from the airport to the hotel or the first trip out of the hotel.
There have been some incredible learnings on the way. Like Jorge taking us to a completely desolate waterfall that no visitors visit. Or Giacomo taking us to a beautiful spot for lunch when I asked him “Where would you take your girlfriend to that is not visited by tourists?” in Italy. There was I Wayan in Indonesian, Juan in Chile, Henrique in Azores, Mohammad in Oman…. I have about 15 such great friends in my list. What always started with strangers on a drive invariably continued as a lifelong friendship. Of course, the annual birthday calls are always there to remind each other of the great memories I still cherish.
This trip, I made – hopefully another life long – relationship with Mahmoud. He picked me up from the airport and we hit it off immediately. He was, of course, extremely knowledgeable about the whole place. But more importantly, he got it very quickly that I was more interested in places of natural beauty and far less in historical importance.
We got to know about each others’ families. I was very excited to hear about his two sons’ career plans. Hopefully, they will all visit us in the US sometime.
Meanwhile, I cannot wait to go back to Jordan with my family and meet his family!