I probably first knew of Petra’s existence thanks to the Indiana Jones movie. On the morning of the 20th of November 2009, after a 6am breakfast of bread with butter, cheese, marmalade and fried eggs, we were queuing to get tickets to enter Petra by 7am.
Petra was breath taking. The massive gorges we had to walk through along the way were beyond impressive. The colours of the rocks, their incredible height of what must have been 60m, the tranquility of the whole area (it was 7am), the beauty of what the wind and water have done to them for thousands of years were just amazing. I couldn’t help saying Subhanallah.
It really deserves to be one of the 7 new wonders of the world; the 4th I’ve seen in the past 2 months. It was a 2km walk to get to the very famous Khaznah, the Treasury which is the best preserved building and the icon from one of the Indiana Jones’ movies.
Carved into the rocks, the 40m tall by 30m wide façade took my breath away. As we were walking there, an old man who had a chequered red and white cloth that many Arab men have covering their heads told us that water was once transported into Petra along the same stones we were walking past. As we were walking towards the Al Mahkamah after the Khaznah, we met him again and this time he invited us into his little area for tea. He asked why papa and I didn’t have Muslim names and said Abdullah (my grandfather) is a good name.
It was about 8am by then and it was slowly getting warmer. The tea was very sweet but very good. We said goodbye to the old man whose name was Abdul Karim and headed for the Mahkamah. We had to do a bit of climbing and saw many kids selling postcards.
A lady sort of shouted towards us and asked us to come over and have a look at her shop and asked if we wanted some Bedouin tea. Out of courtesy we went over and had a look at the jewelry she sold. She tried selling me a bracelet claiming it was Bedouin silver for 20Jd. Out of nowhere the price dropped to 10JD saying that she can offer that price unlike the big chain stores because she doesn’t have to pay tax to the government. I still didn’t look interested and she brought the price down to 8 and then 7 and she kept saying please open my day I give you good price. I said well I don’t have the money you’ll have to ask my dad if he wants to buy me one. And then she said ok 5JD and papa was fine with that but as he was searching for his money he asked me if I really wanted it and I said well not really and then she said ok 4JD. Papa just paid for it and I left Petra with a new bracelet.
We walked really slowly on the way back and saw many people making their way in. We also saw many kids selling postcards the whole way back who clearly weren’t there an hour earlier. It was getting warmer and my hoodie was off by then. When we got to the Khaznah, it was packed with people and there was no way any one of them could have taken a picture with the amazing façade without having other people in the background, so we really made the right choice of being there at 7am. Lucky us. We saw kids on running donkeys, expertly handling the animals. You could get to Khaznah or anywhere around Petra on horseback or carriage or even a camel but the price was ridiculous. Something like 20 or 30JD per km (20Jd is roughly 30USD). Is that crazy or what?