Wow Petra! I really enjoyed this historic site. Of course all the pictures in the world can’t really show how amazing it is but of course I took plenty!
Walking towards the Treasury through the Siq which is a huge split in the desert rocks is quite an experience. Brad and I started our day quite early each morning so we could avoid the afternoon sun and also some of the crowds.
Day one I was super anxious to get in and get going. It seemed like everything we did was working against this, but in the end it worked out. The site opens at 6:00 AM and we arrived by 7:30 AM. Even the vendors and the guys who offer donkey, horse and camel rides had little interest in selling to us. They were all busy getting ready for the tour bus crowds that arrive a bit later.
We ended up spending two solid days at Petra, but we bought the three day pass. By day three we were just too worn out to do another hike. On both day one and two we ended up hiking about 7-8 miles. Day two was particularly hard because it was quite hot.
Highlights for me include the interaction I had with a couple of mature Bedu women. On day one we foolishly arrived with few small bills so when we met a Bedu vendor and wanted to purchase a small souvenir, she couldn’t or wouldn’t make change. I told her we would come back tomorrow and she made a sound that if it had been words would have been “yeah right!”. The other Bedu woman we met showed us around one of the archaeological digs, and sold us a necklace. When we came back to make purchases on day two from the first lady we met she was absolutely thrilled to see us. She smiled and patted me on the back, shook my hand…I am sure she thought we wouldn’t come back and it was fun to see that she remembered me and was happy to see us. We bought a bunch of small items from her and overall it was really fun to work with her. I don’t think in all my life I have seen a vendor so happy to see me.
Well worth the effort are the hikes to the Monastery, the Treasury Overlook, and the High Place of Sacrifice. I would call the hikes steep but not hard except that they are longish. The hike to the Monastery is about 6 miles and the other two are about 3 miles each from the entrance, round trip for all. The terrain is varied, it can be sandy, rocky, steep, steps, and flat packed dirt. I would say good shoes like hiking shoes or tennis shoes with good support are a good idea. Water is a great idea. There are lots of Bedu vendors on the trails who will sell you water, so if you forget you should be okay. We met a really nice Bedu man named Salome who sold us tea and played music on a flute plus a goat skin fiddle instrument and that was quite nice. We also bought water from him.
We didn’t buy donkey rides, we did see some of the donkeys being hit very hard with sticks or rubber hoses. One man was really beating his donkey and it was pretty disgusting. I felt really angry about this but he was quite a distance from us so I couldn’t say anything.
There is also a lot of child labor going on there. I never buy stuff from kids, and Jordan isn’t the only place where kids are used to sell postcards and other things. We have seen this nearly everywhere. They are very sweet but I don’t want to support this system. I think they would do better to go to school. That is just my opinion.
There little kids and we ran across an older man who ask for change for their 10 Dinar bill. I suspect the bills are fakes, but of course I could be wrong. We didn’t make change for anyone. Sometimes the kids will just say, “Give me a Dinar” or they will ask for a biscuit, a sweet, gum, or water. If I had to do it over I would bring some candy for the kids, and more small bills. The vendors really want you to spend the whole bill you have in your hand versus giving change.