Jordan: Petra (2008)

Getting to Petra, Jordan was an all day trip between 2 buses, taxi to the Israel border, and a final taxi to Petra.  Once there, I found out the real hospitality as I walked into the town to get a drink and relax and every local boy had to come talk to me and I was getting really annoyed as it was so harassing.  It made me finally return to my hotel for some peace and quiet.  What I didn`t know was how hard it would be to find a beer.  There are no beers, the supermarkets only sell non-alcoholic beer (who knew there was a Amstel Zero?).  So I enjoyed my hotel and watching the sunset over the mountains and I was able to enjoy a local buffet dinner at my hotel with all the Jordanian salads and treats.  Really good.

Journey to Petra, Jordan:
So the next morning I was off to Petra.  This was the whole reason I came to Jordan.  As I was walking down the street, I ran into a cute couple from Canada (Debora and Sigurd). I met them at the Israel/Jordan border and we decided to go to Petra together.   I read that there is nothing that can really describe Petra, and it`s so true.  It was one of the most amazing places I have been!

As we entered the gate, we decided to take a horse into the first part so it was a fun gallop for a mile, and my horse`s name was Indiana.  I think every horse there is called Indiana to get the tourist all gitty.  In case you weren`t aware, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filled there (think to the end of the movie when they go into the Treasury to look for the cup of eternal life).  That is Petra.

Getting back to the theme of Jordan men being very friendly towards, me…my horse handler that was running alongside me and the horse kept asking me if I was married or had a boyfriend.  I finally said I was married as it was the best way to shut him up (or I thought).  Ends up…he kept persisting me and said I could have two husbands…one in New York and one in Jordan.  He then offered me 21 camels for my hand in marriage.  When I turned that great offer down…he said he could also give me all his savings on top of the camels which was 1,000 Jordain Dinars ($1,500) – which is a lot of money there.  At that point, Debora and Sigurd got off their horses and we all continued our walk.

The first main sight of Petra is a 1.2 km walk through the As-Siq.  This is one long block of rock that was pulled apart by tectonic forces.  There are amazing cliffs with rose colored rocks, water channels from the olden days and votice-niches carved into the rocks to light the way.  As I thought this walkway wouldn`t end..we finally came upon the famous Treasury building and it was a sight to see peeking out from the rocks.  It was so tall (43 meters) and was truly breathtaking.   It was originally carved as a tomb in the first century BC.

After this, we continued to walk down the Street of Facades with has rows of tombs and then the great Theatre that could hold 7,000 people.  We knew we wanted to walk all the way to the furthest end to the Monastery.  This was supposed to be one of the best vantage points in all of Petra.  After 800 stairs to the top (we decided to take a donkey up most of the way) as it was so hot and we all were so tired from walking and hiking so much.  At times, I wondered if my little donkey would make it.  Debora`s donkey decided he didn`t want to go, and she ended up walking up well behind Sigurd and me.  The view on the way up was breathtaking and I had to keep reminding myself to look around as the mountains were so pretty!  When we finally got to the top, we found a nice spot to enjoy our brown bag lunch (if you call it that), and take in the sights.  Of course, a lot of the donkey handlers wanted to come up to talk to us and be friendly, but we were all so tired, it was hard to be friendly, but we did our best.

After exploring further high points and sitting on a ledge looking down into a deep canyon (I made sure not to slip), we knew we had a long way down all those steps.   I will say, it was a long and tiring day and with the extreme heat (well over 110 degrees) it was an accomplishment to get out.  We had to stop so many times to rest, get more to drink.

Getting to Petra and seeing all those sights was well worth it and a trip I would highly recommend to others.  I considered going back for a second day, but finally decided I had seen enough, my body was hurting so badly from all the walking, and I would be happier heading out to Egypt the next day to relax on a beach in the Red Sea.

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