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Embedded Photos: 1.Indeana Jones 2.The Siq 3.Petra Colors 3.Petra
Two Years & Twice Around the World...  

Jordan Flag JORDAN


February 21. PETRA  The guy that helped out in the restaurant was infatuated with the Columbian Lebanese singer, Shakira.  Her video was on every time we came down for breakfast and once he even paused it while he went out of the room.  We had planned to take a day off and visit Petra again the next day but something was telling us that the weather wasn't going to last so while we were tired from two days of hiking around we motivated ourselves and got off around 11:00.  We had seen most of Petra's high attractions but we had one left - the Monastery.   Every time we walked the Siq we noticed some new little detail that we hadn't seen before but we were confident that after one more day we would feel like we had walked it enough times.  As we walked through the Outer Siq we met the two young boys who had helped us up the hill on our first day. They Indiana Jones, Petra, Jordanrecognized us and came to ask for a biscuit.  They never asked for anything when they helped us and had even given us one of the stratified rocks that they had been collecting to sell so it seemed fair enough that we should fork over a biscuit.  It was actually a large date cookie which we told them to share.  The littler one was suspicious and pointed like the older boy wouldn't give him any so we stood there until it was broken in half and each had their own half.

We made a direct line for the Monastery which was in the cliffs at the far side of colonnade street.   There were several attempts to get us to ride donkeys up the hill but we weren't that tired.  It was a longer walk than we'd had up to the High Place of Sacrafice but it was a more gradual ascent.  A handful of souvenir vendors were lined up along the trail but, for the most part, they were not very aggressive.  If you shook your head "no" they usually backed off.  Aside from the bad pockets of annoying people we had met the day before most of the people had been pretty considerate.   

An old woman on a donkey headed up the trail right after us.  She had a little boy on the back but as the trail hit a steep part she made him get off and walk.  Two young boys on donkeys came flying down the trail and unable to control their steeds almost pushed her off the trail.  Not understanding anything she said I guess that she was giving them a piece of her mind.  She was an irascible looking woman with a cigarette dangling from her mouth.  After she reached the top of the steep stairs the yelled for the little boy and he jumped up on a nearby wall and climbed back on.  The donkeys actually managed very well on the slippery stone stSiq, Petra, Jordanairs, their sturdy legs hoisting them uphill without looking like it took much effort.  

The views from the wadi leading to the Monastery were beautiful.  The monument itself was obscured until we reached the top but the day  before we had seen its massive urn peeking out above the cliffs from the forecourt of the Urn Tomb on the east cliff.  We arrived in mid-afternoon and it was very good timing. The sun was shining directly on the face of the facade and we turned out to have just enough sun left that day to get some stunning views of the massive temple.  Within about an hour it started to cloud over.  The Monastery was more austere than the Treasury, without any columns, stairs or statues.  We had to climb up to just get inside the great door.  On top stood the massive urn, at least 10 meters high alone.  We watched a few people climb the surrounding cliff to reach the base of the urn but when we went in search of the pathway we were told that it was forbidden to climb up.  The little boy who told us kept making motions with his hand of people falling off, then we noticed a set of stairs that had been blocked off with a stone wall.  We decided not to pursue it.  It was really windy anyway, which would have freaked me out.  Inside a large cafe opposite the Monastery a small cafe had been set up.  His tables and chairs stretched out across the front of the flat plaza that was carved out in front of the Monastery where people would have once gathered for religious ceremonies.  The structure was not actually a monastery of any kind but would have been a tomb-temple for someone of great importance, probably a Nabatean King.     Petra Color, Jordan

It was cold and windy so we gave in and stopped for a tea and sat by the little stove that the cafe manager kept burning.  He was a charming man and worked the tourists well, not pressuring them at all to patronize his little establishment.  His tea was pretty expensive at JD1 per cup but there wasn't exactly a lot of competition.  Before the weather got too gray we headed back down to the valley.

As we walked back towards the Siq we veered north of the colonnade street and visited the Byzantine Church that was just discovered in 1997, really making you wonder what else lied bellow your feet.  It was once a large tripartite basilica that stood 26m by 15m but today all that remains are some of its walls and, most impressively, it floor mosaics.  The mosaics featured earthy scenes that would have complemented heavenly scenes on the walls of the church but nothing of those remain.  The scenes show personifications of Spring and Summer, various animal life, and fishing and hunting.  They are dated at around the early sixth century.  A small Bedouin girl stood quietly as we visited the ruins.  She had a small box of things for sale.  Her mother had just left and she kept looking for her to return.  I turned around at one point to see her twirling with her head scarf wrapped around her.  She was darling and had a beautiful smile.  I asked to take her photo and she smiled widely.  It was a great shot and I showed it to her.  Then she put her scarf back on her headRob, Petra, Jordan and I shot a couple more.  We had some large date cookies with us and I took one out to give to her.  She seemed delighted and we all waived enthusiastically as we left.  She was sweet and I hoped that giving her something would not encourage her to be a beggar from other tourists.  Because she let me take her photo and was so pleasant I wanted to reciprocate but we never really know how our behavior translates to people in other cultures.  We can just try to use good judgment and do our best.  I won't reward children that act obnoxious or are sent begging by their parents.  It can be  more of a fine line than we think between supporting beggars and thinking we are being polite as visitors. 

As we left the park the guys selling horseback rides got more and more aggressive with their pricing. I think the lowest price we heard was just one JD to get back up to the gate but we were only 500 meters away at that point.  They tried to give us the Indiana Jones sell job but we left Petra without ever having taken a horseback ride or carriage ride.  There was a bit of pride in having covered the area on our own two feet. 

For dinner we didn't think very hard and just went back to our pizza place.  


GREECE Athens Jan 27-Feb 4

EGYPT Cairo Feb 4 Feb 5 Feb 6 Feb 7 Aswan Feb 8 Feb 9 Feb 10 Luxor Feb 11 Feb 12 Feb 13 Feb 14 Feb 15 Nuweiba Feb 16-17

JORDAN Petra Feb 18 Feb 19 Feb 20 Feb 21 Amman Feb 22 Feb 23-24 Feb 25 Feb 26 Feb 27 Feb 28 Feb 29-Mar 1 Dead Sea Mar 2 Mar 3

ISRAEL Eilat Mar 4

EGYPT Cairo Mar 5 Mar 6 Mar 7 Mar 8

GREECE Athens Mar 9 Santorini Mar 10 Mar 11 Mar 12-13 Crete Mar 14 Mar 15-16 Mar 17-21 Athens Mar 22