Video: Petra & The ‘Stupid’ Tour Guide

Abdullah Amra, Not A 'Stupid' Tour Guide

Guides can make or break a shore excursion.

Our guide, Abdullah Amra, stepped onto the motorcoach in Aqaba, Jordan to welcome us in broken English. After a few minutes of listening to him stumble through words and point out the obvious (“Jordan very modern, we have traffic lights, red mean stop, green mean go.”) many of us resolved that we could be in for a challenging day on the full-day excursion to and from the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Petra.

For at least five minutes, Amra rambled on. He was certainly funny and his phrasing was even funnier. He told us, for example, that he loved his job and that it paid very well and that he needed the job to support his seven children. He pleaded with us not to tell his boss that his English was so bad.

Then, the young man exposed the joke, speaking in perfect English to much applause and heartfelt laughter. “Sometimes I actually start speaking Arabic, assuming the passengers speak Arabic,” Amra told me at a cafe in Petra. Other times, he is imitating “someone you would call a ‘stupid tour guide,’ someone who is working as a tour guide but this is the wrong job because he’s not qualified . . . ” Occasionally, Amra will break into a sweat and breathe heavily into the microphone, expressing anxiety about being in front of a crowd. He is anything but, however.

Amra’s approach and personality underscore the quality of Silversea’s guides. When we returned to Aqaba at the end of the day, it was clear that Amra had transformed what promised to be a good tour into what turned out to be a great tour. A handful of bills, which had been given by passengers in appreciation, was a good measure of his approval ratings for the day.

“I am very proud that I can do things like this,” Amra says of his technique. “It is not only giving the guest information but also entertaining them.”

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21 Comments

  • Good  Job Abdullah, nice one,

    thank you Ralph for the Article and Video,

    Roger Kelenjian
    Abercrombie & Kent Jordan / Akorn….
    Cruiseship Operations Manager 

    Reply
    • Ah, no wonder it was such a quality excursion, an A&K program. You’re very welcome …

      Reply
  •  Simply speechless, all what can I say “Abdullah your a real gum guide”. I am so proud of you, keep the great job your doing up… 

    Special thanks to Ralph for his recognition and appreciation 

    Nairy Markarian
    Hotel & Tourism Etiquette & Protocol  trainer 

    Reply
    • Hi Mr. Markarian, I am not sure if Abdullah was one of your students in Tourism Etiquette. But all I want to say is that you are lucky to have Abdullah in the profession – not only is he very knowledgeable but also professional, passionate with what he does and could relate very well with the tourists.  He truly did your country proud in sharing with me one of your country’s precious gem  – Petra, and its history.

      Thank you.

      Lulu Yalung
      Philippines

      Reply
      • Wow! Abdullah is certainly popular today. And of course, he deserves it!

        Reply
  •  is he a clown or a tour guide!!!? proud of what?? of  fooling people! as a professional tour guide you should be aware of  the first impression of the tourists otherwise you got your ass kicked out!!  

    Reply
    • I can only say that everyone on our tour appreciated him and his sense of humor very much. He fooled no one. He simply entertained while informing. I can assure you of this: No one fell asleep on the bus, as so often happens on long tours.

      Reply
    • Either you are jealous or he hasn’t been your tour guide…your language suggests some
      sort of resentment???? Have you travelled to Jordan???? I’m sure your not from Jordan
      they are gracious people and proud of their country…as they should be…. maybe the circus
      is a better choice for you….

      Reply
  • Petra the most magical place on earth.Our guide Abdullah was amazing,bright,articulate and
    very easy on the eyes….all ages adored him and his beautiful smile and great knowledge of his
    home.

    Reply
  • Glad that when I went to Petra that afternoon of 27 July 2011, Abdullah was in the tourist booth, gave me some suggestions as I didn’t have much time to see the entire place. Talked to a family who have been inside and they advised that it is better that I get a guide to maximize my time. Abdullah approached me and I told him that I’ve decided to take a guide. Apparently it was his turn so he was my guide in Petra.  Abdullah was very professional, knowledgeable and passionate with his work. I was surprised to see him still outside the gate when I came out and asked me how my experience was going to the Deir (Monastery).  Too bad I could not talk to him for long as I was in a hurry to go back to Amman and he was also talking to a tourist couple. Would definitely, like to have him as my tour guide when I go with my friends next time to Petra or as and when I go Wadi Rum.  But I’m not sure if he could do that.  Keep up the very good job!  All the best to you!

    Reply
  • ABDULLAH TARGETS WOMEN WHO HE SEES AS A NEXT MEAL TICKET THIS MAN IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED AT ALL HE SLEEPS WITH HIS CLIENTS AND THEN BEGS FOR MONEY ETC AFTERWARDS HE IS BEYOND VILE

    Reply
  • this man is in fact a disgrace to the profession he targets rich nd wealthy foreign women to use for money sex etc please beaware of abddulah amra aka abdullah nawafleh

    Reply
  • Thank you Mr. Ralph Grizzle for this great video. it was a pleasure to have met you in that tour to Petra.

    if anyone wants to get in? touch with me you can always send an email to [email protected]

    Reply
  • Dear Abdullah, We are back home after – thanks to you – a magnificent experience in Jordan (and Israel). We were privileged to have you looking after us; we were so overwhelmed by yourself, your organizational capabilities, your care, attention to details and knowledge. We have calculated that between us our group has 297 (two hundred and ninety seven!) years of travel, we have had uncountable guides in every continent on earth and in dozens of countries – but none are capable guides like yourself.
    To say it blatantly – you are a very special man and a very unique individual; our group was privileged to be looked after and guided by yourself. You deserved more than ten stars out of ten – yours are all the stars in the sky. God be with you.

    Reply
    • Dear Nare De Nostredamus,
      Thank you so much for your great comment. I really have no words to say! I have enjoyed my time with you and I hope I get to see you again in Petra. God bless you 🙂

      Reply
  • Abdullah speaks excellent English and has amazing knowledge of Petra. He has a fantastic sense of humour and this made our time all the more enjoyable. He went at our pace and was encouraging when we were finding the 860 steps to the monastery difficult! He was happy to suggest other activities or places of interest but didn’t force them on us. He arranged our drivers for us, recommended tickets to buy and generally made the whole trip relaxed and easy. This was especially good for us as we were only here for a short time. He made what would have been a great trip even better!

    Reply
    • Dear Erin,
      Thank you so much for your nice comment. It was a great pleasure to have met you and your friends in Petra. Your group was a great fun. I hope to see you again in Petra.

      Reply

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