It’s kind of weird going over the border from Israel to Jordan. It’s even weirder coming back. We went to Jordan for 10 hours so we could visit Petra. On the way over, the Immigration / Border people are not very chatty. There were a number of people with guns there. This made me feel a little apprehensive about talking, or laughing or running. There is an area between Israel and Jordan that is a “no man’s land.” It is about the length of a football field. There are tall fences and barbed wire on the sides of this land. Then, voila, there is the Jordanian border.
Our nice driver, “Mohammad Sonata,” picked us up after we crossed in to Jordan. People call him Mohammad Sonata because there are a lot of men named Mohammad in Jordan, and he drives a Hyundai Sonata as a driver / guide. He drove us by Aaron’s tomb, Moses’s brother, and pointed out interesting geological structures.
Then we got to Petra. The walk through the Siq is about 10 degrees cooler than the walk through the desert to hike up to the monastery.
Since I’m allergic to horses, I could only pretend I was Indiana Jones as I rounded the corner to see the immense Treasury building. My mom and I hummed the song as we approached the end of the Siq. I wonder how many jillion times per day the souvenir sellers hear that song?
The Treasury building is beautiful. I can’t believe it was carved 3000 years ago. It is almost 40 metres tall. They didn’t have any modern tools and, even now, it is still level and symmetrical.
After the Treasury, we hiked up to the top of the site to the Monastery, Al Deir in Arabic. It was even bigger than the Treasury.
The hike is a couple of hours each way, and, at intervals all the way up, there are Bedouins selling magnets, sand art and necklaces. There are also men who ask you every minute or two if you want to take a horse or camel ride either up or down to the Monastery.
It made me kind of sad because the horses and donkeys are tiny, and, most of the people who accepted rides were fully grown adults. Also, they have carriages that take people between the entrance gate and the Treasury. I think it is about a mile walk. The men driving the carriages aren’t very nice to the horses.
When we drove back to the Israel border, it got really weird. The Jordanian men were very nonchalant about us leaving. They collected money from us and waved us through. The Israel border had lots of armed people along the way, many of them women. They asked us questions for 5 or 10 minutes before they’d let us back in to the country. We didn’t have any bags or luggage, not even a souvenir except for some spare change, but there were still lots of questions.
I am glad I got to see Petra. I am amazed that a 3000 year old building is still standing, especially when you think of many houses in the United States — they are falling down in 100 years, or less.