Claire’s friends told her that she had gone too far this time. At twenty-nine-years-old, Claire lived a life of mystery and suspense as an adventure traveler. Up until this trip, she had convinced friends to come with. Yet, friends had begun to drop away into a dull routine. Only a single friend had joined her on the previous adventure holiday. This time, for the first time, Claire traveled solo. From her window seat, she drank in as much of Amman, Jordan as her eyes could see on an Airbus 380 as it began final approach to Queen Alia International Airport.
Her friends were frightened about the ISIL fanatics nearby in Syria, but Claire would not listen. She countered their fear with facts: The Americans and their allies had crushed ISIL there, and therefore Jordan, one of the allies, had become safe for tourism. Still, none of them agreed to go with her, so she defied them by taking an Emerates Airline flight from London to Amman. The wheels touched down on the runway with a tiny jerk, and Claire had no regret about flying with the hospitable crew of the UAE airline. However, she did feel a bit scared about getting off the plane, a young, single British woman, alone in a sea of Arab culture. She recovered her bravado after she wheeled her luggage through Jordanian customs and out to the airport common area. A young Arab man stood, holding a placard of the tour company that she had booked. He wore a lily-white thobe, a red-checkered keffiyeh, and a finely-woven agal held his colorful head garment in place. As Claire walked toward him, the man smiled at her, and asked, “Miss Claire?” She introduced herself to Hashem, her guide. Adventure on!
Other tourists joined her, mostly a mix