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Indiana Jones and the Lazy Horse

Dave - Petra

Petra is an amazing place, a huge city of tombs, temples, a thearte, cave dwellings, sacred high places - all in a vast surreal landscape of sandstone outcrops and narrow siqs (gorges) and wadis (dry riverbed valleys). Despite the 3,000 old grannies per day that get wheeled down the main path in carriages, you only have to walk a short distance off the main path to be completely alone in silence, save for the odd Bedouin urchin trying to sell you a few rocks they picked up off the floor, and a few donkeys / donkey poos.

Over 3 days we explored the High Place of Sacrifice, climbed on to the roof of the Monastery at sunset (a full hours scramble from the main ruins), scrambled through narrow hidden siqs, and of course did the half hour walk through the famous main siq that opens up to reveal the treasury (gasp for breath)...although we often did that walk in the pitch dark after spending too long in the ruins / getting there late after sleeping in / getting there late after being on the internet getting glasto tickets - thanks again glasto crew!!)

The sandstone is eroded into strange shapes, often fluted and resembling melting wax, its like Gaudi and Dali got together and knocked it up after a couple of bottles of absinthe. Amazing colours, swirls and patterns in red pink and orange, with faultlines of yellow and black.

And they let you ride a horse to the main Siq entrance! Indiana Jones dreams turn into reality, as I sing the tune in my head and prepare to gallop down the path, this will be awesome...except the horse didn't like me and insisted on walking. And I would have felt bad whipping it with the length of electric cable the horse handler had given me.

On the final evening we did Petra By Night, a walk through the Siq to the treasury again in the dark again, with the stars shining in the narrow sliver of sky you can see, but this time the way is lit by candle-lamps. Once we reached the treasury compound there were hundreds of lamps all over the floor, and all 3 hundred of us sat on mats, drank tea, and listened to musicians playing bedouin lute and flute. Twas a magical romantic atmosphere, I was almost tempted to ask for Rachel's hand in marriage once more. A very touristy event but being part of the crowd only adds to the experience. The best bit though was a little kitten that kept brushing up against people's backs and making them jump while everyone was trying to be silent.

Posted by rachndave 02:52 Archived in Jordan

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