Following in the footsteps of Moses
May 31, 2007
May 20, 2008
Anyway, at the entrance to Petra we were all given the choice of Spanish or German maps..."No English maps today"...typical. The following day a bunch of got our hands on the English version except for one of the guys from Australia. He knew they had the maps and kept insisting until the guy at the visitors desk said "you must be polite!" He replied, "but your are lying, I know you have the maps!" Apparently, this put the guy over the edge and he said "Go away!!!" The rules are so random and the standards at the monuments are really different than at home. With that said, many of the monuments are really well maintained and the visitor center at Wadi Rum was really well done and quite modern.
An aside about the lack of pictures this time...my files are really HUGE and they take forever to upload so I haven't been doing it so much this time. Also, I'm finding the novelty of the blog to have diminished somewhat. I am finding that I want to spend my time experiencing my trip more than I want to be writing about it...but there is so much to write and so much that I am seeing and experiencing. I have to admit, I'm a bit overloaded. I'll have to figure out how to manage my experiences so that I don't get burned out. It's only July after all!
Swam in the Dead Sea today...or rather floated big time! We stopped at a resort and had a huge buffet...especially great when all you are doing is sitting on your rear in a bus the entire day! You could only stay in the sea for a bit because it was so salty that any cuts or scrapes burned. The buoyancy blew me away. You could basically stand up straight at the water would hit you below the shoulders not doing anything to stay afloat. I did a synchronized swimming ballet leg without sculling (using my hands to stay afloat) it was hilarious. I went to see the Dead Sea Scrolls with my Great Aunt Florence in Kansas and it hit me today how significant the places are that I am visiting. We went up to Mount Nebo, the memorial of Moses and apparently where he viewed the 'promised land' right before dying. Beautifully preserved mosaics within the church and a Christian service going on while we were visiting. Earlier in the day we visited Karak Castle...a place where there have been people for like 50,000 years or something. Kind of puts the age of the USA in perspective there! The Crusader and Mamluk castle was magnificent even in a state of ruins. On the 5th and 6th we were in Wadi Musa seeing the ruins of Petra. Petra was very interesting too. We had a two day pass and we hiked through the gorges and saw the breathtaking stone carved monument called the Treasury and then hiked up about a thousand steps to see the Monastery. Was followed by a Bedouin family up many of the steps. The kids giving me an 'unofficial' tour of the sites i.e. "take picture here lady", "lady see rock, have tea no charge" on and on! I rested in a teahouse in a cave where the Bedouins used to live before the government resettled them into a new village completely funded and built by the government. Had tea with fresh mint with another traveler from Washington DC who was working for England in Iraq. We had quite an interesting conversation. He confirmed the worst but also had a bit to add about the fact that without the US, the majority Shiites would have been able to form a government. Basically, the coalition government consisting of the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds will collapse when and if we leave and basically it is a government in name only. Not functioning as it should he was saying.