After a day or two of Petra, you will have developed a few new skills. You will be able to take on anybody in a camel-and-donkey-shit-dodging relay race. You can say “no” to cute 5-yr old children faster than they can approach you with useless pieces of rock. However your tolerance for fat but scantily-dressed foreigners will have regressed as you probably haven’t seen exposed, cellulited muffin tops in 3 weeks, and you certainly haven’t seen sunburnt man-boobs (yes, some men take their shirts off here...) in too long. I mean what is this, a Six Flags? Your eyes will need time to heal - head to Syria or Iran.
Jordan has a highly developed tourism industry - a somewhat unpleasant shock after coming from down-to-earth Syria. Bathrooms are spic-n-span, visitor centers are well run and modern, sites are clean and walkways clear. They have also figured out how to screw you out of as much money as possible. It costs 26 JD for a 2-day pass into Petra. That’s like 40 USD, which in Syria would have scored you like 3 days of living.
I really don’t feel like writing right now but will try to give a
quick rundown. So this is how it works in Petra. It opens around 6:30a or some ungodly hour. Tour groups start pouring in around 9 or 10a and leave around 4 or 5p. You as a solo traveller either want to come really early or stay really late, but probably not both. There is also not much entering-exiting-coming back the same day later, because Petra while it is just a 20-minute walk from the hotels, it is a downhill 20-minute walk and in the Middle Eastern heat at lunchtime (which is when you would likely like to take your break) you ain’t about to walk 20-minute turned 40-minute uphill. That, and I forgot to tell you that once you get to the gate of Petra you have to walk about 15 minutes on non-shaded sand to the entrance of the Siq which itself takes another 15 minutes to walk to for the beginning of the city. Point is, you don’t leave in the middle of the day. Most likely you won’t want to pay the money for the one lunch buffet place in all of Petra to sit around with a bunch of Spanish tour groups, so you will bring
your own picnic instead and sit on some hidden ledge overlooking some beautiful part of the city, and perhaps nap until the worst of the midday sun passes. You decide to tackle the 800-step hike up to the Monastery in the morning and while you’re chilling up there at 1pm, laugh at all the tourists that started it too late and are just arriving. And after day one you realize you don’t care about anything that you haven’t seen now, you want to just hike and explore on your own. After day two you don’t want to see even so much as a postcard picture of that Treasury again.
One nice thing about Petra though and perhaps again just Jordan in general. The hawkers and people selling useless crap are not as annoying as they are in other countries (read: Turkey.) After the say, “Look is free, buy something pretty?” and you say “No thanks” they won’t bother you anymore. In Petra a lot of selling is done by children. The most astounding of these are the 5-yr old boys that control the camel and donkey riding business. I mean these kids come up and ask if you “want
donkey-ride?” They are responsible for getting business, collecting money and giving change, guiding you around on said donkeys. Unimaginable how responsible and capable these young boys are at 5 yrs old. It really is a funny sight when you see the typical huge fat Western women being led around on a camel by a barely 3-ft child.
So we spent one and a half days in Petra and two nights in Madi Musa which is another one of those dumps of towns that just exist because of the attraction on its doorstep. There is nothing to do at night in the town and you are at the mercy of the traveling gods to provide you with fun people overlapping to provide you your entertainment. Enter Tucker and Reilly, two brothers from Oregon. Tucker is 25 and graduated 2 years ago, worked a horrible year at some law firm, quit his job and is coming to the end of a year of travel. Reilly is 21 and still in school.
They are hilarious. I’m not really sure how any one description can describe them, but try mixing very pure American humor, Oregon liberalism, slapstick comedy, and Californian quirk. We
all hit it off pretty well and after the first night think that we are parting ways, them on their way to Aqaba for Egypt, but the next night after Petra we come back to the hostel to find them after a day of sitting on toilets heavily food poisoned, and they end up staying another night.
I just can’t write any more right now. Take a look at the pictures, it's Petra and I think pictures will say it all anyways. Peace.
Tot: 0.328s; Tpl: 0.012s; cc: 21; qc: 112; dbt: 0.1082s; 112; m:apollo w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 6.7mb