Well, the canyon is not really in a crescent shape, but Petra is absolutely stunning and somewhat unreal. 10 of us left on a bus at 6:15 this morning for the three hour ride. I had planned to sleep during the bus ride, but it was my first experience in a desert environment so I was awake and looking out the windows most of the way. We passed a camel herd and some shepherds with their goats.
From the entry gate of Petra it’s about a 1km walk through the canyon to where all the really cool stuff begins. From there you can explore more or less at will, and you’re free to walk anywhere in the site. This was surprising, because in America all of these sites would be roped off.
At the Treasury we split into two groups. Some people wanted to explore at a leisurely pace, and a few of us wanted to take the more serious hike up to the Monastery. It wasn’t too difficult a hike, although I was pretty tired from not sleeping well all week (I have a busy head from all that is going on). There were merchants along the route selling Bedoin necklaces and other wares. For a slightly different experience, you can pay for a donkey ride to the top, but I’m the kind of gal who feels that taking the donkey ride isn’t the “real” experience because you don’t have to work for the view. Sharing the small trail with the donkeys was sometimes challenging, but it was impressive to watch how sure-footed they were on the rough terrain.
I think I must come back to see Petra again on another trip. It is enormous, and we only had time to see a very small piece today. At night the pathways are light with candles, and there are singers and performances in front of the Treasury. Dr. Harvey tells me that this is quite an experience, and you feel like you’re a traveler on the frankinsense route.
Everyone fell asleep almost right away on the bus ride home, and after we stopped for tea at the halfway point the ladies played us some Arabic music on their cell phones and then sang for us. Back at ACOR now relaxing, hoping for a restful night before the last day of workshop.