Thursday, February 2, 2012

Petra, Part II

Petra (Greek "πέτρα" (petra), meaning stone; Arabic:: البتراء, Al-Batrāʾ) is a historical and archeological city in the Jordanian governorate of Ma'an that is famous for its rock cut architecture and water conduits system. Established sometime around the 6th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan as well as its most visited tourist attraction.

Things they don't tell you:

  • It costs 50JD or $70 per person to enter the historic city Petra.
  • Up until a few years ago, the Bedouins who live in and around Petra were still re losiding in caves as their ancestors did for thousands of years prior. They now live primarily in government-subsidized housing in the small towns and collections of houses in the surrounding area.
  • We met a very nice Bedouin named Ibrahim who told us all about his 37 nieces and nephews, his mother, and his father's other wives (who had to be vetted through his mother first).
  • The Bedouins own a fleet of camels and donkeys which they rent out to tourists. Camels, which are notoriously stupid and aggressive, are somehow tamed by the Bedouins and just sort of stand around like giant cows. In order to get them to lay down so that tourists can climb aboard, they hiss at the camels. Seriously.
  • A terrible energy drink and a Twix bar will cost you approximately $15. Because Petra is the Disney World of Jordan.
  • Wear clothes that cover your entire body, some sort of scarf, and sunglasses. Not out of respect for any custom but because it is sandy. And by sandy I mean...sandy. You will find sand in every fold of your clothing, in between the hairs on your head, tucked into your pockets, and (sadly) permanently lodged in the lens of your brand new camera, which will now need extensive repair.
  • It's like nothing you've ever seen before. Trust me.


Heading towards Petra. Nothing spectacular yet. Yawn.

What wild donkeys do for their day jobs.

The beginnings of awesomeness.

Filthy, adorable cats abound. Look at how cute this thing is. And how disgusting. That nose has definitely been in a dumpster. Awwww!

You enter the ancient city through the Siq, a  mile or two-long passage formed in a natural split in the sandstone. On the lower right and left sides of this picture, you can see the famous aqueducts that carried water to Wadi-Musa.

Horse-drawn carriages are available to all lazy tourists. We had no idea how large the ancient city of Petra is, and thus were begging for a carriage ride by the end of the day.

When you first enter Petra from the Siq, you shall behold the totally lame and not-at-all interesting  Al Khazneh, or "The Treasury." If it looks familiar, it's because Harrison Ford once filmed a movie here. Or maybe it was Sex & the City 2. I always forget.

The first camel I have ever seen in the Middle East. I took about fourteen pictures of it.


And this angle.

Hello, boyfriend!

Of course I rode it. Of course.

Yawn. How unimaginative, carving a city into rocks.

Baa. I mean - hee haw.

More carvings.

Inside one of the caves. This thing was pitch dark. I took this photo with a flash that blinded me for about twenty minutes, and was terrified that it would turn out like every horror movie photo of a dark place does - with ghosts or skeletons or an alien in the background.

I'm not sure if these are natural or not, but they line many of the facades of the caves and are conveniently-placed for carving. 

Total tourist trap. I dropped about fifty bucks in five minutes here. You're welcome, those of you who got presents from me.

This seemed like a bad idea to climb....

...but we did it anyway.

Unlike the rest of Jordan, dogs are kept as pets here. Elsewhere, only ex-pats have them. It's a curious fact that most Jordanians seem wary of dogs and dislike them as pets. Cats, on the other hand....

Puppy and donkey hanging out on the Place of High Sacrifice Trail.

First camera stop on the trail.

Straight chillin'.

I want one.

Rocks are delicious.

Place of High Sacrifice Trail camera stop #2. Getting steeper.

Place of High Sacrifice Trail camera stop #3. Getting dizzy.

I was huffing and puffing up the trail, and this donkey was ambling down like it weren't no thang.

Camel toe! I couldn't resist.

At a rest stop for some tea, a cat decided to sun itself on my lap. It was there for forty five minutes.

Donkey for you, 10JD, for you!

Sleeping puppy.

More Petra.

Snack shack.

Cover up. Seriously. Dust gets in your eyes. Furreal.

From inside a cave


Guard, hanging out.

Goat. Baaa.

Another goat. Baa.

We got tired and had to ride donkeys back up to the Treasury. 

Just one more. Because it's awesome.

OK, one more, with my boyfriend(s).

At the end of your journey through Petra, you can enjoy a  delicious shawarma and a frosty alcoholic beverage at The Cave Bar, which is an actual bar in an actual cave.
Next on the docket - random photos from around Amman. Be excited. Especially for the part where I forgot my makeup bag back home in Amurrica and had to go purchase makeup from a very nice couple at a shop in downtown Amman. 

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