20 November 2007


I wrote this in November, and forgot to post it, saving it as a draft. Since I'm going to London tonight, I figure it's due time I post Petra, so London and then Rome, will follow shortly.

The first glimpse of the Treasury at Petra, Jordan.

I promised to chronicle my day-trip to Petra, so here goes...

Ari, Allison and I arrived at the Yitzhak Rabin Border Crossing just before 8AM, to meet up with our tour group for the border-crossing. Our group, it turns out, was mostly retired, loquacious Americans, peppered with a few French and Canadians. Fun stuff. We crossed the border with relative ease, following a friendlier path than was found in Egypt.

Happily up at 8AM and at the Border to Jordan.

Maybe we shouldn't have taken this picture, but hey...it was a fun line!

This way to Jordan!

This reminds me of the crossing in the movie The Syrian Bride, but with less dirt.

The guy that processed all of our passports was inexplicably wearing a Gators Shirt. I was so excited, but I doubt he had any idea why I was so taken by him. I am pretty sure he though I was asking to be his wife. Nonplussed, I still got him to take a picture with us.

The University of Florida is in Gainesville, but the Gator Nation is everywhere!

We boarded a bus just outside of the border, and started the drive through Aqaba (it's the Jordanian Eilat) and on to Petra. It was a pretty fun ride, beautiful Negev-y Mountains and all, but I was tired and slept for a large portion of the trip. We stopped at a restaurant/store/rest stop where some of the retirees revealed they are from Florida (woo) and didn't stop talking about until we got back on the bus (boo).

Once we arrived at Petra, we were absorbed by the beauty of the place. I should probably state that before I went to Petra, I knew it was one of the 7 Wonders, and I knew it was beautiful. Petra is also the set of the movie Indiana Jones. I did not realize it included a 6-mile walk. That being said, it was not too hot out, and the walk was nice. My feet begged to differ, but as usual, I shut them up long enough to have a really nice time.

Look at how COOL this place is! Caves! Woo!

Another pretty picture of the mountain-side.

An elephant is naturally carved out of the sandstone here. And then there's me.

Petra is basically an ancient town in Jordan, with temples and other cool structures carved out of the soft sandstone (see the pictures for the smooth edges of the mountains). The colors are beautiful, with oranges, reds and yellows that shine from the rocks. The sand, however, likes to float up and assail your nose, and very much like in Egypt, the popular population-control tool, the cigarette, assails you from all sides. Seriously, I think if our tour guides didn't smoke every 10 minutes they would collapse from nicotine withdrawl. I wonder how they sleep through the night...

Sit down for a second, and your punishment is the ancient sandy-butt of Petra. Note the dusty sand floating in the darkness like so much warm-weather snow.

Bedork. Yup. One of the many touristy shops that peppered the walk.

Time for Temple!

The crown jewel of Petra is the Treasury, carved out of the side of a mountain and incredibly large and impressive. There is also a bathroom built into one of the caves that has a beautiful ceiling of the layers of sandstone, but it was most certainly not the most beautiful bathroom in the world. Liars.

The bathroom wall really was spectacular, but the bathroom itself...YICK.

After the treasury, it is entirely possible that we say Steven Spielberg working on Indiana Jones: The Sequel's Sequel's Sequel, but I'm not convinced. Also, after the treasury, we were taken to a "lovely" restaurant to eat more rice and tzatziki, and then walk back to the bus. Also, after the treasury, our guide has less to talk about, so he latched onto Ari to ask him if he wanted to:

1. Buy the restaurant.
2. Buy some camels.
3. Sell his women.
4. Go into whatever business with the guide.

Ari, a businessman to the end, reminded our guide that he would probably have better luck with the mass of retirees in our group. I don't think it registered.

The walk back was arduous, and we missed our chance with camel / donkey / buggy ride offerings, but we didn't really feel like spending a ton of Jordanian Dinars (about $30), when we needed the exercise. When we emerged from Petra's park, we sat outside of the visitors' center, waiting to go to the buses, and back to ISRAEL!! WOOOOO!

Baby, you make me wanna walk / Like a camel. (I should’ve walked, baby, with a camel.)

While we were waiting, we had some time, so Ari and I purchased what is apparently the latest in hipster fashion, Khaffiyahs-as-scarves. Mine is navy, teal and white, and you cannot really tell it's a khaffiyah, until you see the "Made in [an unfriendly-to-Israel-country]..." tag, which makes me psychologically uncomfortable, but also makes me think that the maker of my khaffiyah-scarf would be horrified to learn that a nice Jewish girl living in Israel for the year is wearing his wares. The corner tassels may also give it away. I can't decide if I'll ever actually wear it. (SBB notes: I've worn it, and people have made fun of me for it.)

I also I FINALLY found some bottles of Diet Coke and CocaCola with Arabic labels, for which I asked if I could pay 3 Dinars. The proprietor of the shop looked at me quizically, and then said, "I thought you were Jordanian. I was going to talk to you in Arabic." I told him he had to be kidding, even had him wave at my "brother" Ari, sitting 30 feet away, and he said, "No, you both look Arabic. Want to see what you'd look like in a khaffiyah?" I told him I had no intention of buying the khaffiyah, but I had a few minutes to spare, so he could certainly show me how to put it on. That is how I ended up looking mamash Jordanian at the end of my trip to Petra.

Yeahhh, I look Jordanian. MmHmm.


Anonymous said...

woah SBB I didn't know that was you, I totally thought it was a Jordanian woman in the bottom picture there! Oh hahaha.
Looks like the trip was fun, and I hope you're having fun on the trip you're on now!
I saw the preview for the next Indiana Jones movie, looks good! Oh and you wrote "say" instead of saw when you "saw Steven Spielberg".

Anonymous said...

oops I forgot to write my name...
Love, Melanie