Did he just tell me to sit up? There was a thick wall of soap covering my entire body and whatever he said sounded like the teacher from Charlie Brown. ‘Wahhh wa wahhh’ he repeated. I flicked a dollop of foam out of my ears just before he picked me up from the laying position and sat me at the end of the table. It was only 3:45 pm but the day had already taken a toll on me. Jaz and I woke up at 5:45 am just so we could get into Petra when it opened to avoid the crowds. Petra (like all other tourist sites) is peaceful first thing in the morning. The tour busses are still at the station, luxury private tours don't start until after the 9:30 breakfast buffet and even the trinket hawkers haven’t claimed their patch of dust to flaunt their scarves and carvings. Sunrise, is for the silence seekers. That’s by far the best travel tip I can suggest in terms of ‘beating the crowds’. I digress, so this two hundred and something pound Jordanian man has me in his clutches. He has removed every flake of dead skin from my body with some kind of exfoliating glove and now I can only guess I look like a giant soap bubble. So he sit’s me up and dumps a couple of buckets of water on me. Turns out, he did say sit up. My first turkish bath has come to an end, it cost roughly ten bucks and I am cleaner than I have felt in days.
It would be a crime for me to write the second postabout Jordan without giving you the details on Petra. Also known as the rose city, Petra was established sometime around 312 bc. It served as the capital city for the nomadic Arabians known as the Nabateans, and they are the ones who carved the city out of the rocks. The location in the middle of the desert was perfect for them to establish a much needed caravan station on the trade route to or from Saudi Arabia. Petra is protected by a deep canyon on the east, which they call the siq (pronounced 'seek'). In fact, it is so well hidden that it wasn't until 1912 that the western world came to find out about it thanks to Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Although Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is probably the most known depiction! Anyways, the siq is a narrow gorge running through the sandstone rock that makes you feel tiny. Although only 14-ish feet at the widest point, the walls are vertical and appear to touch the sky. We wound through the siq, almost in silence, except for when our tour guide would point out an eroded statue here, or sculpture of some camels there.
One second you’re looking at the intricate water system they built, and then it happens. You stop breathing. You stop moving, and your jaw drops wide open. The canyon opens up and there stands the Treasury building, with nothing except a vision of Indiana Jones in front of it.
The most impressive carving and structure I have ever seen. Yea I said it, step aside Eiffel tower, empire state building, and lady liberty. This is the holy grail for sure. Even photos don’t do this treasure justice. Fun fact, bedouin tribes believed there was treasure in the stone vase at the peak of the building, you can see the bullet holes from them trying to shoot it down.
Four or five hours later, we have wound our way through the tombs, climbed up to the look out point, and marched up 800 something steps to the largest building known as the Monastery. It gives the Treasury a run for its money. Located on top of a mountain, this massive building creates its own canyon. A true spectacle once you're done huffing and puffing from the elevation climb. A cup of tea and 2,437 photos later we continue to walk out the back route of Petra. The trail hugs the cliffs and is a sheer drop on the other side but nothing can shake our smiles after that experience. A unesco world heritage site and one of the seven new wonders of the world all in one go. These are the days we will never forget.
As always thank you for reading,leaving comments, and being the inspiration that keeps me writing! I know I haven't posted in a month, but Egypt is right around the corner, and now that I’ve got the soap out of my ears I hear it’s going to be posted in a day or two.
Joe & Jaz