Post #101: This was originally part of one very long post (it took almost 6 hours to write, though a good part of that was waiting for the many pictures to upload). I guess the file was too large for blogspot to deal with as it would not publish the whole thing as one piece. Consequently, I have split it in two. Please read Part One first. It'll make much more sense if you do.
The Bedouin tribes used to live in these caves. In the late 1980s,
early 1990s the Jordanian government built a settlement on a ridge above
Petra and moved all of the people to those houses. Electricity and
running water and warm enclosed spaces are a major upgrade, but I can
understand why they didn't want to go. This valley is magical.
Bedouin occupied the many caves in Petra up until that time. Here are a
couple photos that give some idea of how they might have looked.
Here is a view of the Bedouin's new settlement on the ridge above Petra.
Bedouin still inhabit Petra in their own way. They are there every day,
manning the many souvenir shops and cafes. Sometimes they manufacture
souvenirs on site, like this enterprising little girl. She was pounding
at some particularly colorful rocks she had found to bring out their
natural beauty (and to sell them to a tourist for a couple of dinars).
a couple of the Bedouin men engage in a thoroughly modern pursuit,
checking their smartphones. I was amazed that I got a signal on my phone
and that I had email delivered to it while we were in the valley.
Here are a couple of 'Nabatean soldiers' taking a break from photo duty.
other major offering of the Bedouin is what might loosely be called
'transportation services' All up and down the valley there are offers of
camel, doney, horse, and donkey-drawn cart rides. The drivers are
persistent and pleasant. When we repeatedly say, "No, thank you." They
responded, "Well, maybe tomorrow, maybe on your way out."
"Hey, buddy. How about taking a ride?"
were many young boys with donkeys offering rides. They skip (or drop
out of) school for the short term gain of making up to 300 dinars (about
$420 US) a month from the tourist trade. Carolyn and I spoke with one
of the older sellers and he lamented that they were making that choice
because they were exchanging the long-term benefit of education for easy
money. "But will they want to be donkey taxi drivers all their life? I
don't think so. The government should do something to prevent it.", he
The interesting thing is that I heard these boys,
often 10-12 years old offering rides in English, German, and Spanish
(and I don't doubt they know other languages as well). Their English was
entertaining and colloquially correct. Knowing multiple languages is
often seen as the mark of an educated person, so they are educated,
after a fashion. I too worry about their long term outlook, as I don't
think they'll be so happy with the 300 JD per month in 10 years and will
have closed off an avenue of opportunity by that point.
that same souvenir seller was lamenting their choice, which had been
his 10-15 years before, I said, "Well, it's never to late to get an
education." He replied,"Yes, that's true. But going to school costs
money that I can't afford." And, I'd imagine he has a family to feed as
well, so it truly makes a difficult choice.
One of the ships of the desert in front of the Treasury.
Enjoying a rest in the shade before going to work. The Bedouin take good care of their animals.
donkeys are pretty sure footed as this one navigated the rock slope and
stairs fairly easily, though I would not have wanted to be aboard as he
I think this guy was actually asleep atop his camel!
These guys are taking a break at the end of the day. The long, black hair and pork-pie hat is quite the look.
was initially developed by the Nabateans starting around 100 B.C. and
continuing for the next several hundred years. Eventually the site
passed into the hands of whatever group had power at the time; Romans,
Muslims, Crudaders, Ottoman Turks to name the major ones.
the Romans ruled in Petra they made a number of constructions that are
still in evidence. One of those was an amphitheater carved out of the
also added a major street, shops, roads, and a temple complex in the
valley. The temple has been the subject of extensive archeological
excavations on the part of Brown University
Great Temple at Petra is huge. These pictures are mostly detail shots,
though the last one, taken from farther away, gives some idea of the
loved these hexagonal pavers. They're each about 18 - 20" across and
fitted together quite well. Remember, this flooring is almost 2,000
years old and has been out in the weather for most of that time.
columns all fell over during one of Petra's many major earthquakes. I
know that at least three of them occurred, but there may have been more.
Stacked stone buildings don't fare too well in an earthquake.
unusual feature of the Great Temple is the 'elephant head' capitals of
the columns; an artistic variation on the standard Corinthian capital.
Here's one at the top of a column, you can see the elephant head
little while later, in a small archaeological museum, I was able to get
a close up shot of one of those elephant head capitals.
That's some pretty cool carving.
Great Temple in its entirety can be seen here. As well, at the base of
the Temple area is the remnants of the Roman road and the huge gate at
its end (left center of the picture, more or less).
faithful readers of my blog will remember, I have a great interest in
stone; building dry walls with it is one of my avocations. I notice
stone and geologic features all the time. Petra was the most amazing
collection of stone. The variety of colors was astounding. Here are some
samples of what I mean by that last statement.
last two shots were taken outside the Cave Museum. I took one more that
did not seem like a natural feature. It appeared that someone had
shaped the rock into the jaw and nose of a camel.
See what I mean?
in with all the people and other animals was a collection of cats, dogs
and birds. Here are a couple of representative samples.
enough, though I am much more of a 'cat person' than a 'dog person' and
there were plenty of cats around (some of them obviously well fed and
cared for), I took no pictures of the cats of Petra.
Sparrows searching donkey dung for food they can make use of.
life has a hard time in a desert environment. Several of the hillsides
were beginning to sprout plants that seems like lilies or some other
plant emerging from an underground bulb. I only know they come from a
bulb because I saw some of them dug up and for sale on one of the
will grow wherever they find a water source. This old fig tree was
growing out of a crack in the rock part way down the Siq.
I loved the contrast between the softness of this plant and the rock behind it.
Carolyn and I explored a good portion of Petra on Saturday afternoon. John joined us toward the end.
On Sunday morning the three of us walked Petra together.
and John, thank you for sharing the exploration of Petra with me. It
was great to share the discovery of one of the wonders of the world with
You leave Petra the same way you come in, via the Siq, a cleft in the rock hiding an amazing valley of treasures.
four of us had dinner together in a restaurant at the Movenpick on
Saturday and Sunday, Diane rousing herself long enough for an enjoyable
dinner together. The rest actually did her quite a bit of good as she
looked and sounded much better at the end of the trip than at the
On Monday morning after a very ample buffet
breakfast, we packed up the car and headed north. We stopped in Madaba
for lunch and a short driving tour of AUM. After that I drove Carolyn,
John and Diane to the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge border crossing into
Israel. Once I dropped them off, I drove back to Madaba and a resumption
of my workday existence.
These are the things that interest me. If any of them are of interest to you, great. Read along
- ▼ March (5)
- I'm currently 60 years old. I currently work as the learning management system specialist for American University of Madaba in Madaba, Jordan. I was originally certified as a high-school English teacher and taught school for 13 years (1 year of substituting, 1 year of 7th grade, 2 years of a combined 5th, 6th, 7th grade, 9 years of 8th grade). I've worked for hardware and software companies for the past 23 years doing training, training materials development, certification test development and other education related stuff. My wife and I have raised four children to adulthood; some of them live at home at the moment, but that won't last (they're too independent for that). We live at home with 2 Golden Retrievers, 2 black cats, a crazy cat, and, during the winter, 70,000 coho salmon.