The Jewel of Jordan

Trip Start Sep 15, 2010
Trip End Jul 23, 2011

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Flag of Jordan  ,
Thursday, November 18, 2010

I originally planned to take side trips to Lebanon and Jordan during my stay in Jerusalem. However as of this past May, Syria no longer issues visas to Americans at the border.  Unable to easily travel to Lebanon, I was more determined than ever to visit to Jordan.

Specifically, I wanted to see Petra.  This is where the mysterious Nabataeans established their capital city sometime around the 6th century BC.  It is also where the 1989 adventure movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed. :)

During the bus ride, Laus and I made friends with an expressive flight attendant from Guam and a hippie social worker from Belgium.  We made a good team and upon my internet research advice, got dropped off on this long stretch of highway that seemingly led to nowhere.  Not to be deterred, we followed an arrow sign in Hebrew and crossed the border without problems. 

Once in Jordan, we haggled with the taxi drivers until it started thundering and lightning.  They knew they had us trapped so we eventually agreed to their higher fare.  During the two hour ride our driver kept showing off by driving without his hands and veering over the solid white lines on the winding mountain roads.  I said my prayers and closed my eyes.

We arrived just in time to purchase tickets for "Petra at Night."  This unique show is only offered three nights a week.  We started off by walking through a long, narrow canyon pathway lit by hundreds of candles.  A mile later, we reached Petra's most famous and elaborately carved ruin, the Treasury.  Here, they asked us to sit on long straw mats and served us hot mint tea.  After a period of silence, performers started to play ancient Bedouin music.  It was truly something special to experience.

The following morning one of my 16 roommates set their alarm for 5:30, but apparently did not hear it or had already left the room.  I almost crawled down from my bunk-bed to throw their bag out the window.  However, at times like this, I just have to remind myself that you just get what you pay for when it comes to hostel life! 

After the morning grumps, I tried to make the most of the day by enjoying the canyons, carvings and colors of Petra.  Even though the cost of admission is now $75 (they have raised it three times in the past year!), it does include a free group tour.  It's hard for photographs to do Petra justice, but it certainly earns it's place as one of The New Seven Wonders of the World.
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Julian Josephson on

Perhaps it is better if you drop any plans to travel to Lebanon. There is talk of a coup d'état by Hezbollah if the activity about the 2005 assassination of Rafiq Hariri proceeds any further. Since you can get to a computer, check out the Beirut Daily Star and the English-language versions of and These publications should keep you au courant. CHEERS!!!

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