Not a long time ago I suggested a very plausible and completely implementable solution for the notorious problem known as “Summer traffic jam in Amman”. You know, with the expats coming home for their annual dose of Shawerma and Falafel Al-Quds, among other things. So this comes in the spirit of making room for our fellow citizens to quench their nostalgic whims and perhaps, just perhaps, make them take a little more time before they get bored and sick and want to go back to their “host” countries, especially our brothers and sisters suffering the Green Card Effect Syndrome or other related disorders identified by non-stop comparisons and the high susceptibility to heart attacks at the sight of someone crossing the street anywhere without a zebra crossing.
The suggestion was to create a tourist exchange program. You know, for every person coming to Jordan we send a Jordanian citizen abroad to a country of their choice. Of course as you obviously know Jordanians are very busy people and it could be hard to convince a Jordanian to leave Jordan in the summer and miss out on all the fun, right? Even if it’s a full paid vacation you know. Be that as it may, I am willing to make the sacrifice. Yes, I know, I’ve thought it through and I’m sure about it. Government: send me away, and you can pay for it too.
Yet, one problem remains. It’s that our government is quite busy reshuffling and stuff so they may not have the time to sort out where to send each of the volunteers who are willing to do this heroic act. So, again I am more than glad to provide the government with a list of the places I’d die… I mean, I’ll be willing to visit as a service to my country. Of course some of them are for the summer and others are for the winter since, you know, the program could pick up and be a year-round thing.
1- Vienna, et al
I’ve been to Europe once so far and I’ve only passed by Vienna for transit purposes, but when I saw it from the air and then when the plane landed in Vienna airport I was like: you go on, I want to go live as an illegal immigrant in that forest”. And it’s not only Vienna, it’s Austria in general especially the city of Salzburg, the birth place of Mozart. Think of it this way, a country that produces a musician like Mozart must have something to offer!
Did you know that in Iceland there’s a horse for every four people? Yes, that’s the fact that has been stuck in my head ever since I saw that documentary called “Under the spell of horses – Iceland”, where they show you horses in Iceland moving in herds in the breath-taking landscapes of Iceland. I still have that documentary on my hard disk and it pops to mind whenever I’m thinking of a way to relax. Got to wonder how much more relaxing the real deal could be!
Do I even need to provide a reason?
4- Kuger Park – South Africa:
Of course I would love to go anywhere in Africa where animals cross the street casually or where you can see predators running wild and free side by side with the prey, but one can’t completely overlook some safety precautions because obviously I’m not David Attenborough, though I wouldn’t mind having his job. Hence, Kuger Park seems to be a good option if you want to experience wildlife without being devoured by wildlife. Not to mention that I’ve seen a program about it that made me fell in love instantly, plus I’ve expressed before how much I would love to see a giraffe in person.
5- Amazon Forests, Brazil:
I would love to meet 1/3 of all living species in the world…
6- Mecca and Medina:
Obviously this isn’t about tourism, it’s more about spiritual needs we can’t even begin to comprehend. I’ve heard people talking about how overwhelming it was to see the Ka’aba and how their tears went streaming down their faces uncontrollably, even people who wouldn’t strike you as the spiritual type. It’s a spiritual journey in the cradle of Islam, to experience raw emotions and inner peace away from the material world.
The closest of all, yet the farthest of them. It’s literally a dream to walk in her streets and to breathe its very air. It hurts when you think that this is the city of you ancestors, this is where your father was born and the stage for all the childhood stories he’s been telling you and the city you feel a bond with even though you’ve never been to, yet you know you may die before you can set foot in it. But I also know there’s hope to the contrary. But you know what? Strike this out from the list, I don’t want the government to send me their because we all know what that means, I suppose.
So, dear reshuffled government, you’re spoiled for choice, and please don’t make it a surprise since I need to know what to pack. I’ll skip the medal of honor for this sacrifice, since leaving Jordan in the summer will mean missing out on Najwa Karam in Jerash, you know! A sacrifice I’m more than willing to make…