Just a few hours after crossing the border back into Israel from Egypt I found myself making my way through customs into Jordan. Three countries in one day, nice.
We showed our passports a total of six times on the way, only running in to some trouble with our bags. For some reason they were unsure if they should allow me to go in with my GoPro, which had an underwater case on it. Thankfully after some discussion amongst themselves, the security men gave me my camera back. Although the next item of suspicion was my mother’s police badge, which after ten minutes or so was returned to us…
We were apart of an organized trip, we were fourteen total.
Finally on the Jordan side we were separated into two vans and prepared for our two hour drive. Before climbing in the van I had no clue I was in for such a long ride, but wow, the Jordanian mountains are something beautiful. The lines of phosphate and shades of green from copper, it wasn’t a bad sight to look at for a couple hours.
We made a couple stops along the way, the usual tourist shops. Though I did walk away with a nifty camel coffee cup for five dinar.
The two hours didn’t go by fast. It was hot, and the air conditioning in the van was stingy, the van stalled every so often with an unsettling thump, so I think I can safely say that we were all relieved when we saw the sign welcoming us to Petra.
Upon our arrival our tour guide explained to us the few methods available for our journey from the entrance and to Petra. I believe it was over a mile walk.
Option 1: Horseback, which is included with 90 dinar entrance fee (more than 90 US$), although five dollars or so is expected as a tip.
Option 2: Horse-drawn carriage, fifty dollars.
Option 3: Walk.
So by foot we went. It was worth it to see all of the structures at the entrance, where by horse we would have missed.
The picture above is the start of the “Siq”, a fairly narrow split in the mountain that is almost a mile long. It is also the spot where an Indiana Jones movie was filmed.
The feeling walking though there was thrilling. I didn’t know what to expect when we actually got to the Treasury.
Our first sight of the Treasury…
Witnessing the Treasury left me in wonder. It is truly incredible that something so magnificent exists, in such amazing shape, and from so long ago. I had the same feeling when I left the Taj Mahal, I could not look away so I walked backwards until it was no longer in view.
Not only is the history of the place awe-inspiring, but the people and culture add so much to the surroundings and experience. The camels and donkeys, the coal around the Jordanians’ eyes, the desert sand covered souvenirs for sale, the smell of black coffee and tea..
The only real evidence of still being in the 21st century is the sign advertising free WiFi…
Even though we didn’t have to travel so far away from home in Israel, I still felt I like I was on a different planet. The desert looked different, the people and culture were different, and we were just a couple hours drive away.
All of the Jordanians that I met on that day were very friendly, smiling and joking, offering rides on their camels or donkeys. Most of them spoke very good English. Our tour guide explained to us that English is the second language spoken there from the time when the British were in control.
I am so glad that my brother was persistent on getting us to Petra. Maybe I wouldn’t have known what I missed, but I’m sure glad that I know and I didn’t miss it.
Maybe I’ll be back again someday.