Can’t help but contextualize this entry with this classic scene from a classic movie:
As if last night’s awe-inspiring moment wasn’t enough, guess what the Treasury at Petra looks like by day:
The road through Petra by day is unlike the quiet, silent wonder of what Petra is by night. It is instead a social affair, where travelers meet and bond over the shared experience of hiking, climbing, and ruin spelunking. Under a generous sun, we climb up and down solar-baked rocks to turn a corner so we can find the next ruin, or the next fellow hiker.
We started at the entrance to Petra at 8am in the morning. This is important because the crowds arrive at 9am and the Treasury is in sunlight only until 11am. Therefore, starting around 8am or earlier allows you enough time to have the entire site to yourself, as well as getting the ideal pictures of the Treasury.
However, the entrance fee is absolutely insane: 50 JOD ($75 USD!!!). It’s more forgiving if you do 2 days (55 JOD, so it cuts it down to around $40 USD a day), or better yet, 3 days (60 JOD, which is about $30 a day), but since we were bound to leave Jordan tomorrow, we had to bite the bullet.
After recovering from losing $75 USD over a lanky piece of laminated paper, we were led back to the 1.2km Siq towards the Treasury. No less beautiful than it is by night.
…Sorry, I know I usually don’t post videos, but when I realized I had an iPod with me, as well as the theme song to John Williams’ “Indiana Jones”….I couldn’t resist:
and if that wasn’t enough, this is the kicker. Watch as how the Treasury reveals itself in the light. Brilliant:
Afterwards we took a left and continued down the Outer Siq. We ignored the Roman theater on our right (we’ve seen better anyways) and turned another left to climb up to the High Place of Sacrifice, which takes about 45 minutes on a leisurely pace. We were in a rush, so we scaled it in 30. Not bragging or anything…but you know…30 is a cool number.
Then at the top I heard an American accent below where I was standing, which compelled to ask the source of that accent where she was from. Five minutes later we got known a fun group of students from Utah’s Brigham Young University, who were studying abroad for the semester. We all perched upon the cliff overlooking the view below, and we were so engrossed in conversation that I completely forgot to take pictures of the High Place of Sacrifice, not that it mattered anyways because we got to make new friends.
I even did a little dance for them.
See you in NYC, or on the slopes of Park City, Utah!
Afterwards we took their advice and descended towards the “long path” towards the south, behind the High Place of Sacrifice. Along every turn we ran into something interesting: The Lion Monument, a Garden Temple Complex, and a Triclinium, before we descended a little too much and got off the beaten path, literally.
After some searching, we refound the path, but not without a bit of pseudo-rock climbing back up a hill.
After passing by the Columbarium to our left and the Al-Habis Fortress to our right (this one is pretty cool), we took a mini break before reascending 45 minutes of stairs and climbing to reach the Monastery. Along the way, we made a few more friends from Fresno and Cal State University:
The one on the right next to Stephanie: An Asian American guy who speaks Arabic? Who is also quick to correct anyone who assumes we’re all Japanese? I felt a little less lonelier in the world.
After a little bonding with the fellow recent graduates, we hiked up 10 more minutes to reach our goal: The Monastery.
It can give the Treasury a run for its money.
Afterwards I overheard a few travelers in front of me that if we hiked 5 minutes more, we could make it to a viewpoint that oversaw the borders of Jordan and Palestine. Not giving up on that chance, I left Stephanie at the Monastery (sorry!) and ran up another hill to reach a very lonely tent, who had the privilege of getting some pretty awesome views below:
After taking a moment of pause, I ran back down and we begun our journey back home.
This is where the plan got tricky. We had to catch a 5pm JETT bus back to Amman, but at this point it was already 3:30pm and according to the bedouin locals, it would be very lucky for us if we could take about an hour to reach the exit, which left us only 30 minutes to cab it back to our hostel, pick up our stuff, pay the bill, and cab it back to the bus station.
So we did just that.
After getting to the exit in exactly an hour at 4:30pm, I left Stephanie behind to get some water and food while I would go back to the hostel and pick up our stuff. We would meet 30min later at the JETT bus station. And really, it wasn’t a big issue, because by 4:40pm I was already waiting at the hostel, checking my e-mail and waiting for a cab. But when it was 4:50pm and no cab had arrived, I ended up hitchiking on a pick-up truck to get to the bus station. Word. My first time hitchhiking. Thank you, thumb.
When I got on the JETT bus, it was exactly 5:00pm and I was ready to go. Except, however, Stephanie wasn’t on the bus. Going into panic mode, I ran back out the bus telling them they could go on without me (I felt a little cheesy saying it, as if I was in some disaster movie: “Go on without me! save yourselves!”) and ran back down the hill to the Petra entrance gate, searching for Stephanie. Not a sign. Ran down to the taxi stand and there she was, asking for directions to the JETT bus stop. As we reunited, we decided to strategize how we were going to try to make it to Amman the next morning at 6am so we could catch a outbound 12pm flight, until I saw the JETT bus still there. So we ran back up the hill and caught it just as it was about to drive out of the parking lot.
That was close. And now we’re on a 3 hour bus ride back to Amman, looking forward to some real food. We’ve been subsisting on cookies and chips the last 16 hours, except Steph just had some nasty SPAM salami sandwich from a rest stop (yeah I wasn’t that hungry).
– At time of posting in Amman, it was 71.6 °F – Humidity: 41% | Wind Speed: n/a | Cloud Cover: Haze