I whole heartedly recommend a Petra visit to everyone willing to take the time and wander around for at least two days. The site is massive - once the capital city of an entire people, the Nabateans - and it is filled with beautiful rock carvings in so many places, most tourists don't even know where to look. I've learned that the best way to see a site is to trust the locals who live there, and this is exactly what Annie and I did.
Surprisingly, Petra is not only a massive ruin with unbelievably well preserved remnants of exquisite buildings carved out of colorful rock. It's even more than that. Petra is a site surrounded by two major towns/villages: one Arab village and one Bedoin village. These locals wander in and out of Petra at their leisure as they know the back roads and are familiar with the dirt paths that wind up and around the many ancient caves and beautiful arid mountains. We befriended a number of these smiling faces within the city walls who were simply looking for a way to spend their time with excited travelers, and possibly make a tip or two on the side. Us being poor, we kept the few dinars we had in our wallets, but were careful to offer plenty of thanks. And of course, we were willing to follow them wherever they took us.
Our first guide, whose name I can't recall, was a young Arab outfitted in a green army uniform. How did we meet him? Well, he offered to take our photograph. Then he simply continued to set up shots in different areas nearby until we found ourselves following him as he hopped from rock to rock, stone to stone and cliff to cliff. If we'd had more time, which I wish we had, I would have followed him up, up, up to the "high point" he was telling us about from where we'd have an unobstructed view of the Treasury from above. The pictures he took really came out great.
|Here he is waving to us as we approach|
|Here he is showing us how to make blush out of red rock powder|
|Close up of my - now beautiful- complexion|
He was gracious enough to help us along, pointing out in broken English the sites of note and the crevices here and there that made for great photo ops. Here are some of his exclusive shots:
|I don't know how we decided on this pose, but it looks freakin cool|
|The Charlie's Angels thing was his idea. Really.|
|Me in a hole. You can't say he doesn't have a natural eye.|
There will be plenty more photos to come, but I think I'll continue the adventure in the next post. So... Stay tuned!