Crossing the border from Israel to Jordan was a real experience. It is the first time that we crossed an international border that felt like a real border. Each side had the armed guards at the gate with watch towers, barbed wire and a strip of no-mans land in the middle. We couldn’t take our car with us, so we parked it and carried our bags over to the other side. From there we grabbed a Taxi to drive us the 2 hours to Petra.
Living in a big city and a wealthy nation, it seems foreign to us to take a Taxi long distances. But in some parts of the world, it is very affordable (by our standards) and the most efficient way to travel. For the same cost of catching a taxi across town in London, we were able to travel the 120km.
We arrived in Petra in the evening just in time for the Petra by night tour. Our first views of the ancient city came walking down the luminary lined canyon to the Treasury — the most famous of the stone carved building facades. It is also featured in one of the Indiana Jones movies (can anybody name which one? and which scene?).
This magical introduction was followed by a full day hiking through the ancient sites. Out cab driver’s advice was perfect — we stared early and hiked to the opposite end first to see the Monastery — the second most famous building. The early start kept us fresh for the 800 stairs at the end and we beat the crowds to have the place to ourselves. We enjoyed an early box lunch provided by our hotel while taking in the view.
While eating lunch, we met the local goats. They were looking for food and weren’t shy. A big one approached us and headed straight for our bag. I moved the bag and gave him a ‘shoo’ as usually works with a dog. This goat was more persistent. He continued for the bag and didn’t have a problem going through me. K and I looked at each other and realized this was going to require more effort. I stood up and blocked the goat with my back to him while K quickly gathered up our things. The goat wasn’t happy about this and gave me a bit of a buck on the backside. With all but K’s sweater in our hands, we thought we were clear. But you know that saying about goats eating anything? He went after the sweater! Fortunately we beat him to it and made our get-away. It was quite comical. And even more comical watching the goats approach the next group of hiker’s arrive. We managed to catch one goat on video struggling with a bag.
That night we learned to cook some traditional dishes at The Petra Kitchen.
After two days in Petra, it was back to Israel for a dip in the Dead Sea. I’ll wrap our trip with that and Tel Aviv in the next post.