Friday, July 12, 2013

Seven Jordanian Buses: Part 2

After all of the adventures of the day before, we still got up early the next day for some more adventures. On Tuesday of our week in Jordan we went to Petra, which is one of the wonders of the world! It definitely lived up to that title. Petra was one of the coolest places I’ve been to in my life.

Petra is an ancient city that was cut into the rocks. If you’ve seen the last Indiana Jones movie, you might recognize some of my pictures!

As you enter Petra you start to see more and more carvings in the rocks. Here’s some of the first buildings I saw as we started walking through the park.

Then you enter a very tall gorge, and go through the narrow path that cuts through it. On the bottom right picture, look for the carving of an elephant! You can see the eye, ear, and part of the trunk.

Again, walking through the canyons you see lots of carvings- big ones like the elephant and small ones like pagan idols. There are also remains of pipes that made up their water system.

All of a sudden, the canyon comes to an end and you catch a glimpse of the most famous building in Petra- the Treasury! (that’s where Indiana Jones found the Holy Grail, so it’s pretty important...)

It’s a pretty cool building :)

It seemed natural to ride a camel in front of it.

After hanging out at the Treasury with the camels, we went on a hike. Yes, that’s right; I went on a hike. And it was over 90 degrees. We hiked up to “the High Place.” Creative name. It was high. That was a lot of hiking for me. I hiked up a mountain in the desert!

Here’s the view from the top! Not bad. I would say it was worth the hike, but only barely :)

Here’s some more views, and a picture of my hiking buddies. They deserve a reward for hiking slow with me. I don’t have a lot of endurance when it’s 90 degrees, okay?

Hiking down was a lot more fun. I even bought myself a necklace as a reward. It might seem like a weird place to buy jewelry, but there was a lot of jewelry for sale there. Bedouin merchants camp out all over the park and follow you around and chase you trying to sell you stuff.

After the hike we went to lunch and everyone else went on another hike. I decided to hang out with my friend from the other class who had already done it and see some of the other stuff that didn’t involve hiking up a second mountain. There is SO much to see at Petra. You could easily spend a few days here and probably still not see everything. 

Here’s some of the other things we saw. The top right is a theater, and the other two pictures are tombs.

To get a sense of how big Petra is, it took us a full hour to walk back to the entrance from where we were in these last pictures. And you could have gone so much farther into the park. By the way, ALL of the walking you do at Petra is either on stairs or sand.  It was a workout.

Can you tell from the pictures how amazing this place is? I would love to come back some day and see more of it. Preferably when it's not so freaking hot.

By the time we got back on the bus (bus #4, of course) we were all very sunburned, disgusting, sandy, and dusty from hiking all day in the hot desert weather. It was so nice to get on the air-conditioned bus knowing that it would peacefully take us all the way to our hotel, which was a few hours away (that was my attempt at foreshadowing).

Then we passed the other class’ bus pulled over on the side of the road. Their bus had broken down and was being fixed. Everyone cheered, because we were happy it wasn’t us again.

However, it felt like the bus was slowly getting hotter and hotter. Was it just me? I put my hand up to the air-conditioning vent and noticed that it wasn’t really working. Then I looked out the window and noticed how slow we were going. Cars were angrily passing our bus and speeding by us.

At this point our professor decides it would be a good idea to give us a quiz on the field trip reading assignment that we were supposed to complete before going to Petra. Of course, we didn’t get to the hotel until midnight the day before, so I hadn’t done any of it. 0%.

Then our bus completely breaks down, and there’s no more air-conditioning. We stop for a while to see if it can be fixed, and it can’t. Our bus driver decides that the bus can limp along 5 more miles so we can wait at a rest stop for a new bus to come. We drive to the rest stop going like 10 miles an hour on the highway.

We waited for about two hours at the rest stop for a new bus to come. Our Jordanian tour guide Yusef felt so bad for us that he bought all of us drinks and snacks.

Our class’ crowning moment was re-loading our luggage onto bus #5 and being in our seats ready to go in just 3 minutes. That’s pretty impressive for 40 students to do.

We spent a few hours on bus #5 driving to the hotel in Amman, and it actually made it all the way there! Hallelujah. Some people rushed to go exploring in the city before our dinner reservation, but I took a long-awaited shower and finally dumped the sand out of my shoes :)

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