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    The Country Of Jordan Is Totally Underrated — Here Are 18 Reasons Why I'm Obsessed With It

    Mars-like landscapes and medjool dates for days.

    If traveling to Jordan has never crossed your mind, we have something in common. Or should I say, had. A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to visit, and I ended up loving it way more than I expected. Now it remains one of my favorite places in the world.

    Oleksii Hlembotskyi / Getty Images

    It all started when my skateboard-loving husband got the chance to help out at 7Hills Skatepark — a skatepark his organization built in the capital city of Amman. There was no way I could not go. Still, I'd never been to the Middle East before and was admittedly a little nervous.

    Turns out Jordan was the perfect introduction to the wondrous world of Middle Eastern-style hospitality, food, and adventure. I spent most of the month in the capital, which is westernized, but still has the occasional camel scurrying across the highway.

    1. First, some basics: Jordan is a Middle Eastern country that’s sandwiched between Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the West Bank.

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    It’s home to an estimated 10.8 million people — including many Syrian refugees — and is predominantly Musilim (over 97 percent). The official language is Arabic and it’s only outlet to the sea is the Gulf of Aqaba, which feeds into the Red Sea.

    2. Most people know Jordan because of Petra, an ancient city that was featured in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.

    Evie Carrick

    This circa 300 BCE archaeological city is literally carved into red rock walls. Hidden at the end of narrow canyons are building facades, tombs, and temples carved into the rock. Often called the Rose City, Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

    3. The red-rock landscape of Wadi Rum is Mars-like — and you can cross it by camel.

    Evie Carrick

    Wadi Rum is a desert in southern Jordan with reddish-pink sand, natural arches, and towering cliffs. Climbers come to scale the pillars and rock walls, while the rest of us search out prehistoric rock engravings and ancient temple remains. If riding a camel across the desert is on your bucket list, make sure you book with an ethical tour operator.

    4. And then sleep in a traditional Bedouin camp.

    Evie Carrick

    The Bedouins are nomadic people who traditionally inhabit Middle Eastern and North African deserts — and that includes Wadi Rum. After you’ve crossed the desert on camelback, you can stay the night in a Bedouin tent made of goat hair. Your Bedouin hosts, who have an unhurried, sincere style of hospitality, will serve up steaming pots of mint tea followed by dinner cooked in an underground oven covered with sand.

    5. If you’re a night owl (and lucky) you may spot a hedgehog cruising the desert floor and hunting snakes.

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    In fact, you may want to lure one to your Bedouin tent for protection. I'm kidding, of course, but who knew hedgehogs could be so fierce? If you do decide to camp out in the desert, be sure to read up on safety tips before you go.

    6. You can float in the Dead Sea and lather yourself with the mud — which some studies say can help clear up skin problems and relieve pain — for free.

    Eve Carrick

    You’ll find fancy boutiques selling skincare products made with elements from the Dead Sea, but your best bet (and cheapest option) is to give yourself a seaside body treatment.

    7. Or go to a hammam for a full, human-powered scrub down.

    8. If that doesn’t relax you, the hookah will.

    Disney

    Alcohol isn’t always easy to find in Jordan. Here, people relax by smoking flavored tobacco.

    9. And while you smoke, you can sip on sugary mint tea.

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    The secret is fresh mint and lots of sugar. Limiting yourself to one glass is impossible.

    10. During Ramadan, people fast from food and drink during the day, then feast at night.

    11. Dates are everywhere! People love them. And it turns out, so do I.

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    Like a lot. In the past, I avoided them because of their poop-like appearance, but these little turds are so good it’s crazy. To this day, I eat two every morning — all thanks to my time spent in Jordan.

    12. If you want to follow that date with a real meal, try mansaf.

    13. Or, for vegetarians: falafel.

    14. The capital city of Amman is the perfect home base. It's westernized and comfortable, but still feels authentic. Oh, and it's color-coordinated.

    Evie Carrick

    Apparently, a city law required every house to be built in the same color palette. When combined with the hilly terrain, the city almost looks fake.

    15. It has a giant outdoor food market.

    Evie Carrick

    At Souk el-Khodra you’ll find mounds of spices, nuts, olives, and fresh produce. Snack on a piece of baklava or halva while you check out the scene and load up your bag.

    16. And you can visit ancient Roman ruins without leaving the city.

    Evie Carrick

    Today, you can walk through the historic remains of the great city once known as Philadelphia in the Byzantine and Roman times. Climb the hill to the Citadel for panoramic views of the entire city, watch the sunset from the Temple of Hercules, or hike to the top of the Roman Theater and eye people on the plaza below.

    17. No matter where you go, you'll find little pops of color and stunning street art.

    Evie Carrick

    Take me back.

    18. Basically, Jordan is the most unexpectedly amazing place on Earth. It isn't overrun with tourists, the people are kind, and the food is amazing.

    Don't forget to check out Bring Me! for all of BuzzFeed's best travel tips and hacks, vacation inspiration, and more!

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