Monday, April 23, 2012

Going up

Ah, Petra is becoming a fading memory already. But I have the photos to remind me and prove I was really there. These rocks are just so incredibly cool. And the sky was cooperating, too. Up we go, toward the High Place of Sacrifice.
And up, and up and up. You have to keep on going, beyond where it looks like reasonable people might stop, to reach the actual spot.
Trees!  I noticed that the dry places of Jordan have these cedar-type trees, which are familiar to me from other dry places like Ladakh, India. They seem to be able to grow with very little soil and moisture, and I suspect some of them are very old.
Here we are. I lay down on the slab where my backpack is, thinking that was the place of actual sacrifice. But the actual spot is where I'm standing to take the photo. There's a kind of drain, for the blood. 
Click to enlarge (that works, right?) and you can see buildings on the ground behind me. That's the area leading to the Monastery, which is the other place we climbed up to. We spent 9 hours hiking through Petra, since we only had this one day.  Up, down, across, and up again. It was great. 
Looking down on the tombs. 
Wandering around on this level, we saw smoke rising from a small fire behind a rock outcrop, and found a Bedouin family having tea. They invited us to sit and drink tea with them, and we were more than ready for a nice cup of sweet black tea. It tasted especially good, cooked in a teapot directly over the coals.  Sitting there in their perfectly sheltered nook (it was windy and cold otherwise,) we felt completely relaxed and peaceful, and got a real taste of how people have lived in this place for centuries. I was again reminded of Ladakh, India, where things would be very nearly the same, except for the landscape.
At the end of a full day in Petra, this remained my favorite moment.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Entering Petra

Let's walk in, shall we?  The siq, or canyon which is not technically a canyon because it was caused by a split in the rock, winds along for quite a ways, and it's breathtaking the whole time. It's impossible to do the place justice in photos, especially with a little point & shoot. But I'll show what I've got anyway.
Starting at 6:30am, we had the place nearly to ourselves, with only a few other people spaced out far enough to give a sense of solitude.
The rocks still show signs of having fit together once.  On the left above, and both sides below, you can see the carved water channels that run the length of the siq.
Look for the geometric, carved alcoves in the photo below, tiny in the face of the rock. There were so many of these, all with subtle stairways or paths leading to them, as if the Nabateans tended them regularly.
Okay here it comes....

No words for that moment, except that the camels are very well placed.
The intricacy and depth of carving, into and against the living rock, is staggering.
 We reached the Treasury before the sun, and as we turned down the next path, we found that the men from the coffee shop opposite the Treasury had come down here to sit in the first warm sunlight, as it lit up some tombs.
Next, we go up.