Tuesday, 25 August 2015

I get to be the hero of the story: or not?

At 5:45 I was woken by the Fajr prayer near our hostel. I listened to the sound and realized it reminded me of the my childhood in India. In India,  I would hear the same calls each day and realize it was time for school.  The sound evoked memories that I did not know existed and filled me with a happy feeling. It reminded me of my ongoing transition from West (The Netherlands) to East (India).

While writing this blog I have observed an interesting phenomenon: I am narrating a story. By means of this blog I am trying to explain to the readers what a lovely time I have had so far. I am, by all means, acting like the hero in the story with everything revolving around me. Scott McCabe and Clare Foster have recorded this by saying that,"Accounts of touristic experiences in naturalistic everyday interaction have a story-like quality to them which become mythologised, fabled and flamboyantly and richly narrated to friends and relatives back home(1)."
The role of narrative is fundamental in the construction of tourist experience and my means of this blog I can share that tourist experience with all my readers. When my parents call me I narrate to them what happened during the day and I realize that even while talking about my experiences I cannot run away from this phenomenon.

Today we had a tour of Amman, visiting important historical sites such as the blue mosque, the Roman amphitheater, the citadel and also viewing the Roman ruins in Jerash.
While looking at the Roman ruins I realized that the Jordan Tourism Industry has made full use of the aesthetic preferences of some tourists of the Western world. I wondered: Do these sites really show the identity of the people of Jordan? Or are they just maintained to attract cultural tourists? Our tour guide Omar mentioned that Arab tourists would never visit one of these ruins with the aim of obtaining knowledge about history of these sites. Thus, he implied that these sites are maintained for a specific class of tourists: Tourists interested in the history and heritage of the place.
Similar thoughts are held by Smith and Robinson (2) who maintain that Jordan is locked into the promotion of its Greco-Roman sites, as ‘must-see’ places, though such sites are hardly representative of the culture(s) of the Jordanian/Arab peoples, shaped as they have been by Ottoman culture and complex historical relations with the West. 

However,  such thoughts soon left my mind as I was soon enthralled by the breathtaking views and elegant structures. I was left with nothing but respect for the Jordanian peoples efforts in maintaining these wonderful structures. 

The Roman ruins at Jerash 



References

(1) Scott McCabe & Clare Foster (2006) The Role and Function of Narrative in Tourist Interaction, Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 4:3, 194-215, DOI: 10.2167/ jtcc071.0 Available at:  http://dx.doi.org/10.2167/jtcc071.0

(2) Smith, M,;Robinson.M; Toronto .Cultural Tourism in a Changing World. 2005. http://www00.unibg.it/dati/corsi/44108/50648-smith-robinson-proofs.pdf