Magnificent Petra

November 5, 2009 - 11:54 pm No Comments

Woke up to find my Dad and Marion feeling good and ready to go. Had a quick breakfast and walked down to the Petra visitor’s center. From there, my Dad arranged a donkey and buggy ride for himself and Marion, while I walked with Mahmoud, our tour guide for the day.

Walking the Siq

Rocks of the Siq

Mahmoud was really good, discussing everything I was seeing in articulate, easy-to-understand English. He answered all of my questions and stopped with me whenever I wanted to take a photo. He even taught me some Arabic:

zakee jeh-den : very delicious

A Glimpse of the Treasury

We all met up again at the Treasury, a sight as impressive during the day as it was last night.

Kids at the Treasury

Mahmoud Explains Stuff

Hardly anything to explore inside, though.

Inside the Treasury

Camel Face

Need a Ride?

We walked further into Petra, exploring the buildings and tombs and mountains around us. Walking around Petra is like being in Manhattan. You really have to stretch your neck looking up and all around to see everything. Mahmoud led us around, stopping every few minutes to give us some history and answer all of our questions.

Sand in the Bottle Guy

Sand in the Bottle

Petra is made of sandstone, which is easily eroded. All the structures are decomposing right before our eyes. Worse, people can walk all over them everything, breaking them down further. Tourists collect rocks and put sand into water bottles to take home. I’m really surprised preservationists and archaeologists don’t have a problem with any of this.

Faded Archway

Petra Residences

Arched Gate

The Lonely Donkey

Marion’s knees and my Dad’s back were aching, but we got through it. At the end of the day, my Dad arranged for camels to take us back. Marion can’t stop talking about how much she loved the camel ride.

On the Camels

The Treasury by Day

Me in the Siq

After a quick meal of hummus and cole slaw (for a change), Mohammed #2 picked us up and took us back to Aqaba, telling us a bit more about his personal life as he drove. He described his wife, who religiously covers herself from head to toe, as a “walking tent.” He also thinks that, at age 33, I should be married with kids.

On the way back, the back right tire went flat. We pulled over at the top of a hill and watched the sun set over Jordan. What a great place to stop!

Flat Tire Sunset Over Jordan

We crossed the border back into Eilat, took a taxi to the airport, flew back to Tel Aviv, picked up our rental car, and drove back to Jerusalem.

A very long day, but Petra is definitely worth the trip.

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