Archive for January, 2011

Petra and Wadi Rum

I was around ten or eleven when I first watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  One of my favorite scenes was when Harrison Ford and Sean Connery rode up to an ancient building carved out of the mountainside to find the Holy Grail.  I can vividly remember thinking ‘Wow! I want to go there!’  Of course I didn’t know at the time that ‘there’ was the Treasury building located in an ancient Nabatean city in the Jordanian desert called Petra that I would visit 20 years later on an around the world trip.

To reach the city itself, you enter through the ‘Siq’ – a narrow gorge that winds through towering cliffs of rust, brown, red, and rose colored sandstone cliffs.   The colors of the rock are incredible!  As you approach the end of the Siq, you catch your first glimpse of the Treasury – a intricate facade carved into sheer rockface, which I had been told is one of the greatest ‘reveals’ on the planet.  I was not disappointed; seeing the magnificent Treasury (which is actually a tomb for a Nabatean king) up close and personal was a childhood dream come true for me. 

A glimpse of the Treasury walking through the Siq


The Treasury

The rest of the city was equally if not more impressive. Vast tombs, a theatre, churches, and a towering monastary all carved into the sides of mountains; this place is truly spectacular and I could have easily spent several days exploring all that it had to offer.   This is one of the bummers about doing an organized tour…if you like a place and want to spend more time checking it out, you’re screwed.   Overall, it was one hot, sweaty, and facinating day!

The Monastary
 Walking up to some tombs carved into the mountains

At one of the mountain viewpoints of Petra

The following morning we continued down the King’s Hwy and into the Wadi Rum desert – 720 square kilometer preserve of desert wilderness and mountains.   I was super pumped for our ‘desert jeep safari’ and spending the night in a Bedouin camp under millions of desert stars.   Of course, Kelly and I have had nothing but great luck with the weather on this trip, so the day that we were set to spend in Wadi Rum, there was a fricken SAND STORM.   We still had our jeep safari, speeding over sand dunes, dodging camels (yes, there were a ton of camels just chillin’ in the desert), and attempted to watch the sunset, but didn’t have much luck with the views (or photos for that matter) as the sand in the air created a hazy cloud across the whole area.   It was a bit of a let down, but what can you do?

Sandy Jeep Safari






Making a fire to boil tea

We didn’t see any desert stars that night either, but we did eat a delicious Bedouin meal of lamb and chicken, cooked with hot coals and buried underground.   I shared a bottle of wine with Ian from England (on the down-low…no alcohol allowed in the camps) and despite the fact that I had my own tent, slept outside next to the fire.   As a result of the strong winds, I woke up covered in black ash, which was awesome.   After packing up our things, the group hit the road again to the Red Sea resort town of Aqaba.

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