Tess' first book “Leap: Leaving A Job With No Plan B to Find the Career and Life You Really Want” was published in August 2015 by Random House Harmony. For more information on the book, go here.

Tess Untethered | Jerash, Jordan: Giving Rome a Run for Its Money
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Jerash, Jordan: Giving Rome a Run for Its Money

Nov 10 2017

Jerash, Jordan: Giving Rome a Run for Its Money

“Welcome to Jordan!” said the man walking next to me on the street in Amman. Somehow he knew I wasn’t from there.
“Thank you!” I replied.
“English?” he asked.
“Ah. Welcome!”


It’s a short conversation that repeated itself again and again over the nearly two weeks I spent in Jordan. When’s the last time you saw a likely tourist on the streets of your town and went up and welcomed them? “Welcome” seems to be the default greeting in this gorgeous, jaw-dropping country that I can’t wait to visit again.


Amman reminds me a bit of San Francisco, with all of its steep hills and narrow streets. The number of housing units under construction around the city is staggering. If you visit, go at this time of year — the weather was perfection. And the road rules reminded me of Vietnam… lanes are just a suggestion.


North of Amman, just about an hour from the border with Syria (which is now closed), lie the ancient ruins of Jerash, which to my mind gives Rome a run for its money. The Greco-Roman structures that have been excavated over the last couple of centuries are so well preserved, you could almost hold a congress within the forum. It’s hard to capture the scope of the grounds, but I gave it a shot here.


And you can’t leave Jordan without talking about – and photographing- the food. Middle Eastern runs a close second to Indian cuisine for me… and after this visit, the former may just overtake the latter. Some samples at the end of this series.


I loved Jordan and its people — and it’s a place I’d love to live someday. I dreamed of visiting Petra for years… but did not realize how much more there was to see beyond that famous site. I only wish I’d had more time to just hang out and photograph Jordanians in their everyday lives.


It was an incredible two weeks, for reasons not least of which were the days I spent with my parents exploring Wadi Rum and Petra. I feel like a new person now that I’ve had a dose of my two favorite people. I miss them already but it was such a special time to be able to travel to these remarkable places together. I’m also feeling a bit wistful because this is likely the last trip of this year… and possibly beyond. Jordan was the 17th country I’ve traveled to in less than two years. It’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, to get this drug out of my system.


The forum, Jerash, Jordan — 2nd century AD

Jerash, Jordan — blending the ancient with the modern


Hadrian’s Arch — built 129 AD

Mezze — I could eat this every single day.


Amman’s Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque interior — holds up to 2,000 worshippers

I stood for about two minutes and just watched as the pitas flew down from the machine and he caught them and bagged them.

Jordanian sweets


On the highway between the Amman airport and Jerash, you see stand after stand of olives, figs, baby aubergine, oranges, and more. These need brining, of course, but the colors are just spectacular.

Mango Tang? Houston, we have a problem…


This is how you say IKEA in Arabic. FYI

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