Playing tourists in a Middle Eastern snow storm

Snow falls in Amman, Jordan.
Snow falls in Amman, Jordan. Rae Wilson

SLIPPING and sliding down a black iced road, with snow falling heavily, four girls went searching for fun.

Amman had been shut down during a snowstorm - nothing was open and even taxis were scarce given the dangerous road conditions.

Phone calls to all major shopping malls had gone unanswered. Tourist attractions - the same.

Talking about snow in a Middle Eastern country has raised more than a few eyebrows upon returning home.

But with determination to explore, these girls sought everything open in Jordan in the name of adventure (and an aversion to boredom).

Curious after spotting security guards at an empty shopping mall, they ventured closer and were allowed inside.

Dimly lit and echoing the sound of every step, the abandoned shop-lined avenues at the Zara Centre held little hope.

But light spilling over the escalators from two floors above drew them to a contemporary art gallery.

It too was flanked by security officers and bizarrely the only thing open but a true treat.

Paintings of life in the Middle East from street scenes to child brides to conflict on the Gaza strip in neighbouring Israel made the wet hour trekking through snow worth it.

But they then saw one light on at the top-floor cinema and found the end of a rainbow.

Their pot of gold was finding someone in the office who put Paddington on - a movie just for the four bedraggled tourists.

After the teddy-bear fix, the nearby Grand Hyatt provided a warm refuge and a gorgeous view over the city as the snow fell.

The waiter kindly offered a handwritten list of what he knew was open in Amman - which the quartet vowed to follow like a Quran.

Al-Pasha Turkish Bath could be the best place in Amman to warm up - Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, scrub down and massage.

Books@Cafe is around the corner. Book store. Café. Bar. Take your pick.

A wander through the nearby streets, including Mango Street, reveals a neighbourhood once occupied by Amman's elite - still magical old villas from the early 1900s.

But Rainbow Street is where it's all happening  - cafes, restaurants, crafts, antiques and bars.

It's not so hip and happening when the white stuff has shut down the city but there were enough stores open to keep a few girls happy.

Last place on the waiter's list - Dunia rooftop bar.

As well has having a charming owner, who won the girls over with signature shots and a free CD of his Arabian music, Dunia has fantastic views, great cocktails, eclectic decor and delicious meals.

It's also right on the much-lauded first circle - Jordan is navigated by the closest roundabout, or circle.

But other must-sees include the Citadel, Roman amphitheatre and the downtown areas - especially the gold stores.

Make sure you go to Habbibah's sweets Al Bank Al Arabi branch in a downtown ally - there's a line for these goat cheese pastries soaked in a sugar-based syrup for a reason.

The nearby Jafra Café is perfect for sheesah and great food.

King Hussein mosque in Jebel Weibdeh is one of the few that opens its doors to non-Muslim visitors.

Women are required to wear a full black abeyya for a guided tour of the blue-domed landmark.

Two last night spots to keep you occupied in Amman; Regency Palace Hotel's Trader Vics and U rooftop bar. 

GROW UP DION: Man runs from police during drunken encounter

Premium Content GROW UP DION: Man runs from police during drunken encounter

A man found himself running away from police through the streets of Dalby after...

Supermarket warning: Fruit, veggie prices soar 30%

Premium Content Supermarket warning: Fruit, veggie prices soar 30%

Fruit and vegetable prices to soar as farm labour crisis bites

Dad jailed 15 years for horrific rape of daughters

Premium Content Dad jailed 15 years for horrific rape of daughters

Kingaroy dad threatened to kill family if daughters spoke