One of my favourite things to do is look at newspaper archives online for coverage of cities. It’s always interesting to see the evergreen stories (or what I'd like to call 'what not to pitch'), the facts that are always mentioned, almost in a boilerplate fashion, but also the tone that ranges from the Orientalist to a genuine sense of discovery.
Here’s Amman, Jordan in the Google newspaper archives
This reads like the opening scene of a James Bond film...
1973: “There is only one cabaret in this Arab capital that boasts a belly dancer these days. And a visit to watch her could involve you in a gunfight.”
1977: “There are no Bedouins now,” he says. “They’ve turned in their tents for villas, cars and color TV. If you call them Bedouins, they get angry.”
1980: “This new-old city boasts wide boulevards, clean streets, inexpensive public transportation, a growing number of good hotels, interesting foods, plus nearby historic and religious sites to assure the most timid visitor an exciting stay in the most exotic atmosphere of an exotic land.”
1984: “Its present and its future are the teenagers in blue jeans and sweatshirts, businessmen in three piece suits and the new Youth Sports City complex that draws as many as 60,000 soccer or tennis players or swimmers on a warm summer day.”
This is an interesting estimate. I’m rather curious on what the current estimate is. (Also, wouldn’t it be the reverse in terms of dining preferences now?)
“At the rooftop Omar Khayyam Restaurant, co-owner Younis Shaer admits that fewer than 20 percent of Amman’s families dine out. His menu features traditional Arabic foods as well as hamburgers and steaks for his Western businessmen clients.”