Who didn’t dream about being Indiana Jones, Lawrence of Arabia, or even Captain Nemo? All of them, real or fictional, captivate the imagination of thousand of adventurers in shorts, all over the world. But there is only one country where all of them would have met by chance: Jordan. In the Lost City of Petra, in the red dessert of Wadi Rum or the underwater gardens of the Red Sea, but always Jordan. Three adventurous souls like these, would have connected immediately, would have kissed three times on the same cheek, and would have smoked nargileh (the famous water pipe) until dawn.
Nowadays, Jordan is better known for two sculptural beauties (Petra and Rania), than for those three characters. Petra was carved on dessert walls by human hands and chisel. So spectacular that it earned the title of Wonder of the World. Rania, however, is a product of Marketing. She has been modelled to such extent that is, now, the image of the Reign of Jordan in the West. Rania is today the best ambassador of a monarchy, invented by the English people. She has been able to turn the country into a peaceful oasis, something very unusual knowing its neighbours. However, if one day you visit Jordan, don’t ask about her. Not even Allah knows her. It is a real fake. She is like an impostor who looks really hot in magazines, but cuts no ice in that country. Here, the portraits of the king and his father are found everywhere, but from Rania, not even the crown. The same happens to the planes flying over Arabia, where veils appear and disappear. Outside the country she is a queen, inside nothing.
But Jordan is much more than just that fake Princess. It is a biblical land where you can be baptized with the same water that Jesus was, or miraculously float in the Dead Sea. It is a museum-country where, out of nowhere, templar castles, Greek cities, and Roman temples appear so well preserved that you would say that they were covered with sand, not by mistake, but so that fortunate people like us could contemplate them undamaged several centuries later.
The best of Jordan, however, is not buried in the dessert, neither forgotten in its chasms. It is sunken in the Red Sea. Just enough to be able to see, with just regular goggles and flippers, dozens of gigantic oysters or swim over the Japanese Gardens, a valley of underwater bonsais placed so careful and beautifully that not even Jules Verne could imagine it in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
One league is the distance that a person covers in one hour, almost five kilometres and a little bit more than 3 miles. The Earth’s circumference is 40,000 km=8,000 leagues=almost 25,000 miles. If there were a bridge all around the Equator, it would take us an entire year to cover it, walking 20 hours a day.
God bless Oneworld and the people who invented the World Round Ticket!!!