Moayyad Al-Otaibi - Jordan
Moayyad leads Explore tours in Jordan. He says: “I have been a guide and a Tour Leader for over 17 years now. I have a passion for travel; I like to meet people from different cultures. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to many parts of the world – both here in the Middle East, Northern Africa and different parts of Europe. I am so proud to work for Explore; I know Explore value’s my work and what I do for my country and the history of our ancestors.”
What is the best thing about your job?
If I am asked what the best thing about my job is, I would say everything! I love the challenges that tour leading brings every single day. But if I had to choose, I would say that one of the best things in this job for me is the people, because on every tour you meet different people with different interests in my country. That means that every tour is different. In the evening dinners for example the topics we start talking about together vary a lot. For me it’s a good experience to share local customs with others and to learn from them about other cultures, especially when we talk about food and cuisine of the country.
Describe one of the local customs in your country
Many people are interested to hear about weddings, especially the traditional Bedouin weddings; it’s a big event for most of the families here in Jordan. I explain to them how we set the tent for this occasion and the way all the family and friends gather for one or two nights to celebrate with music and dance before the actual wedding day. Usually the wedding day is on a Friday and we serve lunch for the guests. We usually serve a local dish (mansaf) - yoghurt cooked with lamb and rice. Sometimes we serve the mansaf for hundreds of people; it depends how big the family is and how many friends are invited. I’ve taken a few groups to see weddings; it can be one of most exciting experiences on the tour for them.
Are there any funny moments?
In this job I also face many funny moments. My lovely moment is when I do the trick in Petra at the end of the siq. Just before we reach the treasury I ask the group to look on the other side as a kind of distraction and they start to walk backwards. Then the big surprise is that the façade of the treasury appears for them suddenly; what a big ‘waw’ you hear from the group. It’s one of my best moments and the highlight of the tour because when you walk in the siq in Petra after every turn they expect to see that famous façade, but when you give this a memorable moment with the distraction, they are looking for something on the other side and the façade is just behind them. Then I ask them to turn around; you can imagine the feeling and the tears of joy sometimes.
What is your favourite place?
In Jordan there are many places I love, but my favourite place is Wadi Rum. It’s a magical place for me - the silence of the place, the nature and the history. In Wadi Rum you can spend days in the desert between the sand dunes and the red rose mountains; for me it’s a place for meditation.
Sunrise and sunset in Wadi Rum - it’s one of the most beautiful and romantic moments in life.