Petra in the rain

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January 31st 2013
Published: February 1st 2013
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As we were warned the weather wasn't very promising this morning. Undeterred we put our thermals on again and layered up our clothing AND we put our waterproof over pants on. We look ridiculous, but we will be warm and dry whatever happens with the weather!

We met Ahmad in the foyer just before nine and we walked down to the Petra ticket office in the drizzle. It only costs five Dinars more for a two day ticket so we asked Ahmad to purchase the two day tickets in case we want to re-visit tomorrow morning before we leave.

With very few other tourists about we entered the site. Just before the entrance to the siq Ahmad asked if we needed the facilities, warning that it would be a long way to the next opportunity. Being inclined never to pass on an opportunity I headed for the portaloo. Amazing, there was toilet paper! The toilets here in Jordan have been OK - Western and reasonably clean, but most of them don't have any paper. Impressed with my portaloo experience, I tried to get out only to find that the door was stuck. I jiggled the door handle and pushed again to no avail. Fortunately there was an attendant who let me out!!

We set off into the 1,200 metre long siq in the rain. As we progressed water started running under our feet and then kept rising and rising! Thank goodness for Gore-tex shoes, our feet stayed dry and warm. These Gore-tex shoes that we bought in the US last year have been fantastic!! We finally picked our way through to the end of the siq and ... Al-Khazneh (the Treasury building) was revealed. Wow!

We took some photos and then we sheltered in a gift shop for while before noticing that we had a Petra River and a couple of Petra Waterfalls happening. Anyone can see Petra when it's dry but, with only a handful or rainy days each year, we have had the unique experience of seeing it in the rain!! The colours of the wet rock were intense and absolutely amazing.

As the rain continued and the water steadily rose Ahmad started telling us that the word was that the site had been closed - they were not allowing any more tourists in. Rumour was that all the coaches from the cruise ships at Aqaba had arrived in Petra only to be turned back. That's about 1,000 tourists that won't be going through the site today. We were basically stuck at the facade of Al-Khazneh and not able to proceed further into the site or retreat back up the siq.

While we waited to see what was going to happen, three young Bedouin men climbed up the waterfall to photograph themselves standing over the great spout of water that was pouring down the cliff face. Crazy!! They made it up and back without anyone falling and splitting his head open. Thank goodness for that. They showed Bernie the photos that they had taken on a phone. Bernie said they were pretty amazing shots. I wonder if they've posted them on Facebook yet?

Eventually, after a long, cold wait we were evacuated from the site in the back of a truck!!Unfortunately that meant that we only drove quickly past the Street of Fa├žades, the Theatre and the Royal Tombs as we drove out the back way. I only realised as we were being driven out how much more there is to see at Petra. Maybe we'll be able to go back quickly tomorrow morning?

We watched movies in the room all afternoon. Back-to-back chick flicks much to Bernie's disgust! He was processing photos though so wasn't really watching 'The Rebound' very closely. The second movie was the one where Ed Harris has split from Susan Sarandon and is in new relationship with Julia Roberts. I think I saw it when it came out, but I can't remember the name of it ... Ah, we just gained Internet access momentarily, it was 'Stepmom'.

At dinner Ahmad warned us that the weather forecast for overnight and tomorrow is not good with more rain/snow forecast. Petra may remain inaccessible and there is the possibility that Karak will not be open either. We'll just have to wait and see.

Steps for the day: 7,601 (5.21 kms) - very disappointing as we expected to do some serious hiking today as we explored Petra.

Additional photos below
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1st February 2013
Petra Waterfall

What a unique thing to see! Sorry to read you didn't get to do as much exploring as you wish, but you still have quite the story to tell none-the-less. Happy travels. Thanks for sharing
2nd February 2013

So sad to hear that your Petra experience was so... unusual! Pretty awesome photos of the bits you did see, at least.
5th February 2013

WOW Petra in the rain!
I am so enjoying your travels thru Egypt & now Jordan. I was there 4 years ago when I back-packed from Istanbul to Cairo and it's such a buzz retracing my steps - but in your shoes. Seeing Petra in the rain is such a rare event, a bit like seeing Uluru in the rain. I spent 2 days roaming all around Petra and feel sorry that you will miss perhaps the best of Petra which takes hours of walking from the Treasury site. Your experience in Wadi Rum was different to mine - we were able to sleep ouside under clear skies and the night was quite warm; but we were there in September and during Ramadan, unfortunately. Thanks for the memories.

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