The Reason We All Came to Jordan

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October 18th 2016
Published: November 27th 2017
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After another sub-par night of sleeping, as we awoke to leave our desert camp in Wadi Rum. Our camp hosts provided us with a light breakfast and as we prepared to set off, we all gathered to collectively say our thanks to the Sheikh. We had appointed Kevin to give our thanks on behalf of all of us as we all set off in 2 vehicles. The Sheikh drove one of the vehicles and as we blasted some Jordanian music as we drove through the desert with the windows down. They dropped us off at a spot where a bunch of camels were awaiting and those of us who wanted to ride would ride the camels back to Wadi Rum town. 3 local teenage boys lead us and the camels back to town for the 45 minute ride. It all started fun and enjoyable as we all took photos and enjoyed the novelty of it all. However, after about 10 minutes I was ready for the ride to be over as the uncomforatableness of the situation set in. Finally arriving in Wadi Rum town, we got off our camels to wait for our van to take us off to Petra. As we waited, I took the opportunity to enjoy a cold local Jordanian beer, the first available alcohol since the first night in Amman.

The drive from Wadi Rum to Petra took about 2 hours and the landscape reminded me very much of driving through the California desert. Along the way, we had a few stops where we were able to have a quick photo-op with some camel crossing signs. Definitely something that you don't see back at home. Driving along the King's Highway as we approached the town of Wadi Musa, we made a brief stop high above the valley below where Faisal pointed out the deep slot canyon network below where we would be exploring over the next 2 days. We pulled into the town of Wadi Musa, the nearest town to the ruins of Petra where we would pick up lunch before checking into our hotel. We all took Faisal up on his recommendation of Al Arabi Restaurant where we all ordered lamb or chicken schawarmas to go. These were easily the best schawarmas that I had ever had and we all devoured our delicious lunch as we waited to check into our hotel, La Maison Hotel Petra just within walking distance of the gates of the Petra Visitor's Center. As we opened up the door to our room, we were greeted with a package on the table that we instantly knew was Kevin's bag that had been lost up to this point. For him it was like the excitement of Christmas morning as he had been wearing some of the same clothes as well as borrowing some of my things over the last few days. After a quick rest and some freshening up, we all met up in the hotel lobby for some exploration of Petra.

Walking to the nearby Visitor's Center, Faisal warned us that we would be constantly approached by touts trying to convince us to take a carriage or ride a horse to the ruins. Almost immediately after beginning the walk along the dusty trail, we were bombarded with guys telling us that our ticket includes a ride on a horse. We all politely declined and continued on. While walking along the trail, you could see evidence of unfinished structures carved into the neaby rock giving us a hint at the amazing sights that lay ahead as we approached the Siq. The Siq is a slot canyon which marks the entrance to the ancient city of Petra. At about a mile long, the Siq is a slot canyon similar to many slot canyons that I have explored in Utah. The canyon walls towered above us on both sides protecting us from the hot mid-day sun and providing us with some much needed shade from the heat of the day. Faisal lead us through the Siq while stopping at various spots along the way to provide us with some very informative history of the ancient Nabatean people of the area. Every so often, we all had to stop walking and make room for the lazy people being transported through the canyon on a horse drawn carriage. When there wasn't a carriage coming through, we were being bombarded with touts trying to convince us of taking a horse drawn carriage. Funny enough, a good number of these touts for some unexplained reason were dressed just like Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Carribbean complete with long hair, a scarf, and eyeliner around their eyes. Eventually as we approached the end of the Siq, our first glimpses of the famous Treasury peered out from the opening of the slot canyon. We were all filled with excitement in knowing that in just a few moments we would be seeing one of the 7 wonders of the world. Somebody started playing the Indiana Jones theme song that popularized the Treasury in pop culture and as we exited the Siq, the famous Treasury was right there in full view for all of us to marvel at.

We spent the next half hour in front of the Treasury soaking it all in and taking our obligatory photos before setting off for more exploration. Faisal had recommended that we all hike to a viewpoint high above the Treasury in order to get a bird's eye view. Tomorrow would be the day that we explore more of the archaeological sights in depth. We continued hiking into Petra where we checked out the areas known as the Street of Facades and the Royal Tombs. These areas are notable for having easily accessible tombs to explore. At the Theater, we veered off the main trail towards the Royal Tombs where we would find stairs carved into the rock that would lead us to the top of the canyon. After a good 45 minutes of uphill hiking and trying to follow a trail that at times was a bit undefined, we eventually made it to the viewpoint high above the Treasury. At this viewpoint, an entrepreneurial local who just so happened to also be dressed in Jack Sparrow like attire, had set up a shaded teahouse overlooking the Treasury. With the exception of the Jack Sparrow look-alike and another tourist, we had the whole spot to ourselves to enjoy the fantastic view of the mighty Treasury. We spent a good half hour up here sipping some tea and enjoying the peaceful view away from crowds below.

Hiking back down before it got dark, we eagerly awaited dinner after what had been a long day. Before dinner, a bunch of us met up at the rooftop patio terrace to enjoy some local Petra beers, enjoy the cool evening air, while getting to know each other a bit better. Dinner tonight was a delicious mix of traditional Jordanian dishes, salads and desserts. As we all sat around and enjoyed our dinner, the table conversation evolved into a discussion of the Trump vs Clinton election that would be held in 2 weeks. After clearly expressing my anti-Trump views, I escaped to the patio terrace where the Lucca, Sarah, and Sophie were enjoying beers and smoking in order to escape the political debate inside. That night, the entire group walked over to the Cave Bar which was described in the Lonely Planet as being the oldest bar in the world. The place was rather quiet and surprisingly a bit expensive. The evening was spent enjoying some beers and each other's company while I shared a sheesha with Lucca and Sophie.

Additional photos below
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24th August 2018

Wanted to see more
I wanted to see more photos of Petra. But the camel ride was also fun to watch. Hope you had a great time. Visit: Lava Engineering

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