On being accosted by a mob of curious schoolgirls in Jordan
In April 2012, I visited the ancient Roman ruins of Jerash, just outside of Amman, Jordan. This was just a day trip from Amman on our last day of sightseeing before heading to Egypt, but it became one of the highlights of the entire trip.
The cab driver we’d hired for the day whisked us away from the bustling city center, and within minutes the desert had turned to beautiful, lush hills blanketed with olive vineyards – I felt like I’d been transported from Arabia to wine country in California or Italy.
Jerash is a relatively small city with one main attraction: its Roman ruins. We arrived to hordes of tour buses clogging the entrance. Once we paid for our tickets and got past the vendors, we made our way through the crowds of schoolgirls and onto sights such as this:
We didn’t make it very far, however, before I was accosted by a mob of Jordanian schoolgirls. By that point I was somewhat accustomed to being stared at constantly in Amman (I’m blonde, obviously not from there, and I didn’t cover my hair), but I was completely unprepared for what happened next. A group of preteen and teen girls (clearly there on a school field trip) all clad in identical green school uniform jackets gathered around me. One shyly approached me and asked, in English, if she could take a picture with me. One, and then another, and then another, until every single girl there had a photo with me in their flip phones.
They were so sweet about it and completely adorable. And it’s not everyday I get treated like Lady Gaga, so of course I was flattered. Once I thought we were all finished, another girl bounded up to me holding out a red flower she’d just picked and said in English, grinning ear to ear, “I love you.” I mean, how stinking cute is that!
Here I am holding the flower:
So yeah, me and Jordanian school girls are good.
Later, after we felt we’d seen all the ancient crumbling Roman architecture there was to see (which is a lot more than I thought I’d see in Jordan!), we decided to check out the colosseum, which we soon found was packed with the same girls and a few other school groups as well.
After a few minutes of taking in the scenery and general raucous noise that happens whenever you get a hundred kids together, someone started to beat on a drum. Within minutes, everyone was on their feet. It was a random dance party, flash mob-style, right there in an ancient colosseum in Jordan. Everyone was having a total blast, making their own fun, laughing and dancing with their friends. It was awesome to experience it.
Luckily, I thought to capture some of it on video. Here’s the footage:
This is why I travel. You never know what kind of amazing experiences you’re going to have when you step outside your comfort zone. I loved seeing how comfortable these girls seemed in their own skin, how much fun they were having just goofing off and being with each other.
You know, we’re really not that different.