ARAGORN ... Not all those who wander are lost (JRR Tolkien)

Jordan, Including Petra

While in Egypt, we wanted to visit Petra, the city carved from rock walls in southern Jordan. We went there and had a great time. However, as this was also our first visit to this area of the world, we were impressed by the history and culture of the even the small part of the Holy Land we saw in two days, and found that we wanted to come back someday and see more.

Petra is the Nabataean city that thrived around 350 BC, and is famous for the structures and tombs carved in the sandstone cliffs surrounding the city. Ed and Helen Muesch, TALEQUAH, came along with us ... we had a lot of fun!

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Our first stop after leaving the Amman, Jordan airport was Mount Nebo, about 20 minutes away. This is where Moses was able to see the Promised Land, but was unable to enter it, as God was mad at him. Moses died immediately after (we did not). However, as you can see, the view from this spot in Jordan lets you see locations in both the occupied West Bank and Israel, as well as some historical places in Jordan, like Bethany (site of John's baptism of Jesus)..

Left: The chart. Below: the view, with Dead Sea on the left, Jordan River in the middle of the plains on the right. Your are only 25 miles from Jerusalem from here.

(Sorry, it was a bit hazy that day).

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Next morning the Petra Four gathered to descend down to Petra.It was a bit colder than we were used to, as we had been sailing in the tropics for the prior 15 months. We all dressed in everything we had brought, and we had no winter clothes on the boats. Dick, for instance, has light long underwear, a shirt, a fleece vest, a fleece sweater, and his Egyptian scarf on the top of his body. Burr..

You get to Petra by descending an ancient watercourse called the Siq. The Nabataeans dammed off this so their city would not be flooded, but they did have water supply pipes on the side walls.

The whole gulch is about a mile long, and, as you get down the path, you can begin to see Petra.

See anything?

How about now?

Now it is visible.

You espy Petra's most famous landmark (all you Indiana Jones fans), "The Treasury"

It is actually a tomb, but has amazing carvings for three stories. The carvings look "Greek" or "Roman", but were done by the local Nabataeans. Petra was a key stop along the ancient caravan routes through the Holy Land. Hidden in the gullies, it was very safe. The place prospered for many centuries, into Roman times, but eventually was lost to Western knowledge, until rediscovered in the nineteenth century.

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There are lots of other neat facades in Petra, but the people were nice too.

Dick sat around drinking tea with some Bedouins who worked part-time running a concession in Petra. They spent one week working and then two weeks wandering in the desert to keep their souls alive. We got along well once I explained that we wandered the oceans the way they wandered the deserts. The understood completely, at once, and the connection was terrific.

We had some other good human interaction in Jordan. Somehow the guide knew that we have focused on food this entire trip, and we cooked our dinner under the supervision of the head chef at the "Petra Kitchen" restaurant.

Leslie made the lentil soup; Dick makes the national dish of Jordan, "mansaf", chicken cooked in yogurt sauce.


Ed and Helen cooked too, here under the watchful eye of the chef's chief assistant. (Ed, who normally is not seen in a galley unless he is looking for a corkscrew, only screamed for help twice.)

It all came out well! The results:

Here see the mezzes (appetizers) fried eggplant with yogurt sauce, tomato and cucumber salad, hummus, the lentil soup and some others ... all of them delicious.

In Jordan we also went to Wadi Rum and saw some spectacular sights. We loved the country and want to go back. Rather than inundating you with other photos, we suggest you go to this neat country!

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