Thursday, January 20, 2011

Petra

If you are in the Jordan, do one thing and one thing only and that is to visit the enchanting and imposing facades of Petra. I’m not talking about the Malaysian company , the Petra Perdana Group of Companies which was sued by Bruce Willis. I’m talking about Petra – one of the recently nominated 7 new wonders of the world which was famously shown during the final scene of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. Petra can stir up some raw emotions I tell you. IMG Skip Amman, the capital city of Jordan if you have to. Every foreigner tells you so at the bus station and they were right. Cairo and Damascus trumps Amman any given day. Imagine Amman as Seremban. Exactly, nobody goes to Seremban.

It takes 5 hours by bus from Amman to Wadi Musa, the village surrounding Petra. Riding on a somewhat shabby bus, it is hard to ignore the merciless sun searing through the thin black curtains hung by the window. It is also hard to overlook the sight of countless discarded mineral water bottles strewn along the highway throughout the journey. PLUS Highway, we are not worthy. Not only that, the endless desert landscape was too much to bear. There was sand everywhere. Not a single blade of grass. You see, I've been in the Middle East at that time for 3 weeks already and I’ve ooo-ed and aaaah-ed at the dramatic desert landscapes, jagged mountains and endless spaces in Syria and Lebanon. So yes, I was a bit sick of the scenery. Just like visiting the temples in Thailand. Gung ho and filled with zeal while at the first two temples but by the third temple, one will heave a sigh so loud that it can be heard all the way to Sungai Golok.

I arrived at Wadi Musa and as with all backpackers, headed to Valentine’s Inn. The worst part about Valentine’s Inn is that the proprietor replays the above said Indiana Jones movie on an everyday basis just to emphasize the obvious. But the pleasant part of Valentine’s Inn is that you get this sunset view everyday.
Glorious Sunset


If you like me and this blog and you’re going to Petra, trust me with this advice: be at the gates of the Petra ticketing office by 6am. The ticket for a one day entrance is JD50 which converts to RM215.00(It is expensive but worth it). Locals pay JD1. So, be there at 6am and try to be first person to walk into Petra.
Practice Makes Perfect

I did so. I was alone and traversing through the winding sandstones of Siq gap. The whole gorge was quiet and peaceful and it helped in building up the thrill and excitement as I walked along this impressive rose colored chasm. The walls tower up to 200m overhead and narrows to about 5m at some parts. I let my hands feel the walls as I stared upwards and sideways marvelling at the Nabatean engineering and artistry of the Siq.
Entering the chasm

Towering Gorge

Traversing through the Siq

There was a sudden rush of anticipation and zeal in me and I wondered why. Gazing ahead with my beady eyes, I caught a glimpse of the Treasury. What an introduction!!!
Be warned again. A one on one standoff with the magnificent and imposing Treasury at dawn can strip your soul back to basics

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