Jordan 2008!

After Jordan 2006, and Yemen 2007 comes the much anticipated return to Jordan 2008!

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Here it is. The mother of all places to visit in Jordan. The Nebetean capitol of Petra. It was the capitol of the greatest trading civilization in the history of the middle east, but the world knows it only as that cool temple thing that Harrison Ford went into at the end of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." We are such a well cultured people. This place is amazing. It's like southern Utah meets the roman empire. There are buildings cut into the rock all over this valley, and I'm not talking about no pueblos. This is bonafied Helenistic architecture. It's just amazing more of it hasn't eroded away. I would go into more detail, but I'll just post pictures instead. The picture posted to the left is "the treasury" the most famous of the buildings due to the aforementioned Harrison Ford film. What you DONT see in the film is the throngs of bedouin arabs who sell stuff in front of it. Many of them were born in caves, but none of them were born yesterday. They are among the most shrewd arab traders the middle east has to offer. Many of them speak upwards of 5 languages and could convince a Mexican that a burrito is actually a rare ancient middle eastern artifact. The favorite item to sell is a variety of necklaces made of "turquois" and "red sea coral" and "camel teeth" and "Bedouin Silver" which I'm pretty sure is actually melted pepsi cans. I can just imagine that they go out every day and look out on a ripe field of ignorant tourists and come home with a fine harvest. They are the nicest people in the world though. Right after one girl in our group bought 11 knives from a nice bedouin lady, she invited our entire group of 10 to eat with her family at her house for dinner.

This was a very interesting experience. We ate HUGE plates of maglubah, which is arabic for chicken and rice. They were very understanding of our american culture, so after we all sat down on the ground around large communal plates... they brought us spoons.

Getting back to the bedouins in petra, like I said in previous posts, ANYTHING can be bargained for. It's all about price. One of them tried to buy my fish hook necklace from New Zealand, which I'm sure he would have turned around and convinced some unsuspecting tourist that it was actually a precious Nebetean stone. We decided that we wanted to try our hands at bargaining by seeing if we could get a good healthy camel in exchange for our good healthy colleague, Allison. American women are a hot commodity here, and are rumored to make good wives and green cards. Our bedouin friends seemed to respond positively to this proposal. We even decided to throw in her backpack and sunglasses for a small donkey. We were pretty close to closing the deal when Allison blew the whistle on the whole transaction and made us go look at some more ruins. Rediculous. I mean, shop around, you cant beat that price. Transportation around Petra is definately haggleworthy. I cannot overemphasize the fun of camel riding. The bedouins will start camel rides at about $10, but if you name your price and convince them that you're willing to walk, you can pretty consistantly get them down to $3. You climb onto the camel while it's laying down, and then it stands up. This, in and of itself is very fun, because it stands up back legs first. They are very tall animals too, so this puts you at about a 90 degree angle looking straight at the ground. Then come the front legs. When they run you bounce about a foot off their back. This is painful, but a lot of fun. I think this is like the adult version of bouncing on your parents knee. I couldn't help but giggle all the way home. Petra is a MUST SEE.


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