Samer Majali served as the Chief Executive Officer and President at Alia - The Royal Jordanian Airlines Company (also known as Royal Jordanian) from July 2001 to August 1, 2009 with Pierre Wolf and Ron.
10 day trip to Jordan in August and September 2005 as a guest of the Jordan Tourist Office. This was a wonderful trip, great people, beautiful country with fantastic history. We flew from New York on a Royal Jordanian airlines Airbus to the Queen Alia International Airport. The flight was outstanding (First Class). It was very exciting as we approached Jordan by flying over the Ben Gurion Airport, Israel's main international airport. All those places we have been reading about in the Bible are right here. Understanding Jordan has some, shall we say "Interesting" neighbors, like Israel, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Our mission was to become exposed to the incredible hospitality available to world travelers. The lodging is nothing but first class, Marriott's that feel like Ritz Carltons, Movenpicks equally fabulous. Sheraton, Four Seasons, Hyatt, Crown Plaza to mention a few. We stayed at the Amman Marriott.
Hard to believe I ran into Roy Lowey at JFK although we had never met, Roy ran Air Caribbean for Dick Williams just prior to me be becoming partners with Dick in several airline deals. Needless to say Roy and I had plenty of time to hash over our airline war stories. You will recognize Roy as the shortest person in our group. Pierre Wolfe and I were there to do live interviews for American's Dining and Travel Guide and the Good Life. There was no question that Pierre and Roy were always the life of the parties and there were plenty of those.including the Hukas. I didn't inhale!
Amman is a beautiful city, a kaleidoscope of ancient construction from the Romans, Middle Eastern culture and Modern architectural touches all combining to provide a most unique and different feel for us Americans.
We visited, The Jerash Temple of Artemis a Roman temple. The temple was built on one of the highest points and dominated the whole city, The Roman theater, dominating the heart of Downtown Amman, the centerpiece of Roman Philadelphia, and also the initial focus for Amman’s modern settlement late in the nineteenth century, Wadi Rum also known as The Valley of the Moon is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan 60 km to the east of Aqaba; it is the largest wadi in Jordan, Petra the historical and archaeological city in the southern Jordanian governorate of Ma'an, that is famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system, the Red Sea resorts, Aqaba a Jordanian coastal city situated at the northeastern tip of the Red Sea. Aqaba is the largest city on the Gulf of Aqaba and Jordan's only coastal city. Oh, yes, we spent a day and night with the Bedouin's.
King Abdullah II of Jordan is well educated having gone to school in in England and in the US at Eaglebrook School and Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts. The King is generally a good friend of the US a number of years ago I heard him address the US Congress and he was very compelling regarding his pro US convictions.
In 1984 I was in England staying at Claridges Hotel. As I was walking down a few steps to the door of the hotel I missed a step and started stumbling the rest of the way. There was a small gentleman at the bottom of the steps who rushed to by embarrassed aid. He made sure I didn't fall and then spoke briefly asking if I was OK. He then pushed the revolving door for me to go outside. Once outside he again spoke to me. I had a driver waiting who came over to see what was happening. My driver opened the door of our car and ask me "do you know that chap?" I said no. He said "that's King Hussein you know!". Look at his car, it has the Royal Flags.
The next evening I ran into King Hussein in the elevator. He inquired as to how I was doing and I apologized for my clumsy departure from the hotel. I then told him I was a radio technician and had repaired many Ham transmitters for my friends that had communicated with his (King Hussein's) Ham station "JY1". That got his attention and thus enabled me to carry on a short additional conversion with him about Ham radio ( I am not a Ham operator but a good transmitter repairman) , and communications in the United States. He was very generous with his time and extremely knowledgeable about a subject I never expected a head of state to know anything about.
On my trip to Jordan we were told there was a possibility we would meet Queen Noor. I was planning on telling the Queen of my brief experience with her husband the King. Unfortunately the meeting with the Queen never materialized but I was able to meet and interview Samer Majali the man who guided the success of Royal Jordanian Airlines from 2001 to 2009.
Pierre Wolfe and Ebaraham our guide.
The Great Camel Race, I came in last, but at least I finished.
Roy and Pierre made the best decision that day. Our adventure was a long hike that required us to walk along a ledge where the back of our feet were not supported, there was a 1,000 foot drop if you fell, no safety net. The most dangerous event I have ever been in.
On our way to the airport to return to the USA. September 10, 2006. The next evening I had dinner with Chelsea in New York City at Jean Georges in the Trump International Hotel. We all had a great time. Roy, Pierre, Carol and I stay in touch.
Sometimes you just have to get with it! btw- theses things really are practical in the desert.
This was taken after the scary hike. We were just glad we survived. I suggest you don't sign up for this one.
This was when we spent the day and night with the Bedouin's. "Talk about roughing it"!
Here I am at the "Petra Kitchen" cooking school. This place is owned by a Texan by then name of Wendy who came to Jordan and never left. It was Wendy who told us, "everyone should visit Jordan, after you have visited London and Paris". Jordan should at least be in your top 5, and agree. Had I not gone of this trip to Jordan It may not have been on my top 20 list.
Here is a video of the Petra Kitchen cooking school were we were given lessons in Middle Eastern Cooking.
Here is where everyone relaxes, Bedouin style, like a living room without a TV. This is not the bedroom. We had our own private tents.
Petra is amazing. Definitely one of the principle places to visit on your trip to Jordan. Just don't go on the "Hike".
Bird's-eye view of Amman Jordan with the ancient Roman amphitheater the center piece.
Here is one of my special pictures of a Bedouin checking his emails. One wonders how important they might be. It never occurred to me Bedouins even had cell phones.
This is Wendy the Texan who came to Jordan and never left.
Here we are on RJ flying to JFK. My seatmate was a lovely young Palestinian woman who worked for the UN in New York. She told me she had to travel for two days to catch this flight. I ask why she didn't fly out of David Ben Gurion on El Al. I then found out Palestinian's were not permitted to fly on El Al. at that time. 9/10/2006