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Last Updated: Monday January 24 2005 17:31 GMT

Laura's diary from Jordan

Laura interviews some children in Jordan
By Laura Jones Newsround reporter

I didn't really know what to expect when we arrived at Amman international airport in Jordan.

I'd been to the Middle East twice before - once to Kuwait and once to Iraq, but both times to report on war and violence.

McDonalds

Jordan is different though. Although it borders Iraq and Israel and there has been trouble there in the past, Jordan

is a country pretty much at peace with its neighbours - and the rest of the world.

Although the main religion in Jordan is Islam, it's quite a westernised country. Driving to our hotel from the airport, we passed loads of McDonalds', Burger Kings and Pizza Huts.

Although a lot of girls were wearing traditional Muslim headscarves, many others weren't, instead choosing to hang out in jeans and hoodies.

Worried

Children we spoke to there said that their religion was important to them, but not as important as many people here think. They're just as into western pop music (Blue) and footie (Beckham) as you all are.

They said they were worried about how close the fighting in Iraq was to their country and they worried about it spreading.

They also said they were concerned about what people in the rest of the world thought of them. They thought that lots of people in the west thought that lots of Muslims were extremists - they thought that it was silly to think that - they told me that people are people whoever they are - there is good and bad in everyone.

Dead Sea

Jordan is an amazing country. Whilst we were there, we travelled to Petra, an ancient city carved out of the rock more than 2,000 years ago.

On our day off, we also went to the Dead Sea, which lies between Jordan and Israel. It was really funny, because you can't stand up in the water there, because there's so much salt. You just float everywhere.

Great place

Back at the airport, a week after arriving in Jordan, I felt I'd learnt a lot about the country, its history and the people who live there.

The whole place is a really interesting mixture of western and eastern influences - and a great place to find out more about how both sides see each other.



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