Want to visit the Middle East, but are intimidated by reactionaries and zealots? Do you tire easily of young male touts at every tourist crossing, yet want to see all that cool ancient Roman city stuff? Well then, Jordan just might be for you! It’s got Petra, Jerash, The Red Sea (The Dead Sea too), Wadi Rum, nature reserves and desert castles. How about a full-on Roman Amphitheater in the city?

I’ve been to Jordan twice. On my second visit I stayed longer, sharing a house with two others for a couple of months in Amman. I felt quit at home, and quit at ease, there. Although the country is decisively Muslim, it’s moderate. I’ve found the people affable and and generous, and to have a protective nature toward its visitors. Amman even has a decent night life scene, with international food, and lots of friendly people to share a tea, coffee or beer with.