Thursday, February 24, 2011

Second Report from Petra, Jordan

Today, we visited the Siq which is almost in front of our hotel.  In short, it is a canyon which was carved by moving water through soft limestone over thousands or even millions of years.  In some spots, the vertical walls rise 500 feet or more.  The stone is various shades of brown, red, and black.  The natural formation would be quite an attraction by itself.

But the real deal here is the carving that was done by the bedouin people who lived around here from  500 BC til around 50 AD.  The Siq was generally not a residential area but contained tombs and ceremonial spots for such things as weddings.  It should be emphasized that they built nothing in the conventional sense but instead carved some times simple and sometimes elaborate facades on the sandstone.  And they also carved rooms behind the facades.  The most well known and photgraphed tomb is one called the Treasury.  It was for one of their revered kings.  At the end of the Siq, there is a more open area where the Romans built elaborate buildings in the traditional sense with stones.  Many of these building are in ruins but you can get an idea of the original grandeur.   It is about 2.5 miles to the end. At the end, there is a climb of 1200 plus steps to a very high vantage point.  Of course, the boss said we had to make that climb.  Then the only way out is to retrace your steps to the entrance another 2.5 miles.  So you can see that we had sufficient exercise today.   Of course, we did not have to walk.  There were plenty of locals who would have transported us by camel, donkey, horse or a cart pulled by a horse.  All this makes for an interesting spectacle in the Siq.

I did not take any pictures as I lost my camera going through airport security yesterday.  But I have remedied that situation as I just went out and purchased another camera.  The visit to the camera shop was interesting.  When we walked in, the proprietor was on his knees on a rug behind the counter doing his prayers.  We just waited for him to finish. Thankfully, I had downloaded all my photos to the laptop.  But if anyone has a hankering to see what we saw today, just google "Petra" & "Treasury".

Some may  be interested in knowing that John McCain and Joe Leiberman are staying at our hotel.  We saw Joe at dinner last night.  Then I saw him at the breakfast buffet this morning,  He was wearing a Stratford, CT
fire/rescue t-shirt (shirt tail out) and red gym shorts.  I went back to the table and told Deb never to call me a slob again.

We go to dinner and entertainment tonight outside the hotel.  I really like the Middle Eastern food so far.  The zuchinni and egg plant are cooked very well and I like the dried fruits.  I will post some pictures of the activities tonight.

Tomorrow, we leave for our final destination- Marrekech, Morocco.  It is almost a seven hour flight.

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