After having done some due diligence and asking around of friends who are well-traveled, I feel that I have a pretty good set of expectations for this trip. For one thing, we're going to Istanbul and Amman; not to, say, Saudi Arabia. I'm allowed to drive a car, walk around with my head uncovered, and exercise a host of other freedoms not available to women in certain countries of the world. Amman is pretty Westernized and full of expats. They are used to tourists and, should I choose, I could pretty much wear/do whatever I wanted.
That being said, I like to think of myself as a considerate traveler. I wouldn't dream of walking around baring cleavage in Amman any more than I would wear hot pants to church. No one's going to arrest me, but it's just common courtesy. And failure to comply with good manners earns you stares, whispers, and sometimes flat-out rudeness from the locals. All of which I'd like to avoid.
I'll also fully admit that I am glad to be traveling with The Gentleman. My first sojourn into the Middle East, and I would not like to be traveling as a solo female. Secondly, The Gentleman's brother speaks fluent Arabic, which is a major asset for us. I intend to coax him into going shopping with me so that I can have a third-party haggler for goods.
But all of this wanting to be polite and not stand out has led to a sartorial crisis for me. What the hell does one wear in Jordan? While I know it's not a fashion show, I'm a girl who likes Styles and Things, and it's just as important to me that I'm fashionable while remaining conservative.
I posed this question to one of my aunts, and she supplied this incredible helpful blog entry (ask Google and ye shall receive!), which has now become a sort of blueprint for the kinds of things I should pack.
Layers, layers, and more layers. The weather there looks to be fluctuating between 40F at night and upper 50s during the day, which is perfect layering weather. But then, you also have to be fashionable whilst dune buggying, ruins-climbing, Turkish coffee-sipping, market-browsing, and Christmas-dinner-in-Amman-eating. Good thing my parents gave me an absolutely gigantic suitcase to take with me, and good thing The Gentleman comes equipped with nice muscley arms. Because I certainly can't carry the thing myself. I'm busy being fashionable and aware of local customs.
Along with ripping apart my closet and probably making several emergency trips to TJ Maxx (Oh, how I love thee....), there's a bevy of other To Do items that need to be taken care of. But it will all get done. So I tell myself.
Side note: tonight is Lee and Hot Curry's Final Goodbye. They are climbing into the car tomorrow to head westward for Salt Lake City for the next 4 years. I won't cry. So I tell myself.
Mostly, though, I'm so incredibly excited. Two weeks from today, I'll be in Jordan! Oh wait...crap...TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY, I'LL BE IN JORDAN. I have things to do! Chop, chop!