Aqaba City Centre – The Butlins of the Middle East.
Arrived in Aqaba city centre today, it is a seaside resort on the red sea. People mainly from Saudi Arabia come here on holiday.
It is 40+ degrees celcius and very humid. There is a different vibe here to the rest of Jordan, not as friendly. As a woman here I would not feel safe on my own, even with a female companion. Many of the people that work here are from Gulf countries or Egypt. I have not seen any women without a head scarf here, very few in plain clothes. It seems the men here have never seen a woman in a pair of jeans and a top, let alone to think women have hair. Here is the only place in Jordan I feel I am being looked and judged. It is strange because everywhere else in Jordan we have been treated like royalty and welcomed. Imagine if I left the hotel in my bathers, I’d probably get arrested!
For now we’ve taken shelter from the heat in the hotel before meeting a French couple for dinner tonight. Tomorrow we are going to a private beach club in Tala Bay where we can swim and snorkel without being judged (hopefully).