Middle East Day 13 - Petra

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Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra
November 5th 2017
Published: February 15th 2018
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We have the whole day to explore Petra at our leisure. Our driver collects us after breakfast and suggests he takes us to the back (the tradesman’s entrance) rather than the Tourist front entrance. We wonder if he’s saying this because it’s more convenient for him. But he’s right again. He drops us at the top of the hill and we walk down into Petra. We are alone apart from the occasional Bedouin riding his camels/donkeys/horses to work.

The road is lined with caves and ancient carvings. We have a lovely day exploring Petra, have a picnic sitting on a rock at the top of the Siq, then head for the meeting point to pick up our coach to Eilat. The group have had problems at the border and only 20 minutes in Petra. It’s a weird atmosphere. We’ve had the best day and are tired and happy in a bus full of angy people. The irony is that in an attempt to boost Jordanian tourism, the government has made a one day Petra ticket more expensive than a two day pass, so our experience was immesurably better but, including accommodation, cost the same.

We reach Israel and cross the border without issue but although our Israeli bus is there, the driver is not. One group member has had enough. He gets in a taxi and leaves. He doesn’t tell anyone and noone else notices him leave. But I have worked in a school for many years and been on dozens of trips. It is a reflex reaction to constantly check and recheck group numbers. The driver arrives and does a head count. We can’t depart as we are missing a passenger. I explain that I saw him leave in a taxi. Noone seems to believe me. Our fellow travellers are becoming more irate. After a long wait (all in view of our hotel) and a phone call to HQ, the driver is finally allowed to depart. He enquires where we need to be dropped. Th others are all staying at beachside hotels in the opposite direction to our own. He drops us first, this is not a popular decision, and we are relieved to escape the bus before things boil over.

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