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Petra is one of the wonders of the world and is probably most famous for being the home of the holy grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  What’s amazing to see though is that the Treasury, the building seen in the movie is just one structure in an entire city.  Typically people arrive in the morning and spend the day there with a tour, but we decided to do things a little differently…

Amanda had seen article on CNN about sleeping in a cave with some Bedouins in Petra.  Apparently the Bedouins had lived in the actual Petra park for centuries but the government had recently relocated them to a village and the desert in the surrounding area.  Now they are really interested in bringing in guests to share some hospitality and show them the situation.  We thought is sounded interesting so I decided to look into it and see if it was really possible.  The Bedouins have been embracing technology and now the use, to meet and invite tourists to stay with thefor I created a profile for this purpose and met a guy named Khaled who was happy to have us stay with him.  We exchanged a few emails, traded cell numbers and everything seemed good to go.

So after the two hour bus ride from Kerak, we had to take another taxi into the visitor center at Petra.  We found out that we couldn’t catch a sunset because the park closed at 7pm so I called Khaled.  He asked us to wait near the entrance and he would be there in 15 minutes.  So we were waiting among all the other tourists in front of a 5-star hotel near the entrance, when Khaled rolls up in 1970s Datsun-like car in a bad state.  The roof was caving in (see gallery),  it had a flat tire, the doors were busted out and there was a dirty rag in the gas tank.  Somehow we shoved our bags inside and hopped in.  Khaled seemed to be exuding energy and happiness and was so happy to have us for guests. He was barefoot and dressed in head wrap and bohemian shirt.

After attempting to fill up his flat tire with air, Khaled took us out to the Bedouin camp in the desert about 10 minutes outside of Petra.  His friends were already drinking – Abraham, Lorraine (French girl dating a local), Lindsey (Khaled’s girlfriend) and a few others.  We hung out among the beautiful rock formation in the desert drinking whiskey.  Somehow, everyone knew I was Jewish and it was all good.  After awhile meeting everyone and hanging out, we jumped back in Khaled’s car, started it with a cigarette lighter (instead of a key), and he drove recklessly, skidding out, to another spot in the desert where we were supposed to meet some other friends.  He was getting angry because his friends never showed and apparently he and Lindsey had been fighting.  We watched the sun slowly set over the horizon while listening to camel calls.  Everything went downhill from there.

The friends never showed up so we went back to meet up with original group plus a few others.  One guy was playing a lute. Then Khaled got really, really drunk.  He left to get us dinner – and we were really glad that we took our bags out of the car.  His tire went flat and he had to abandon the car in the desert.  He eventually hitchhiked back, and while we ate and drank, he started crying and yelling about his girlfriend because he accidentally drove over her owl.  His friends took us back to the village but there was more crying and dramatic screaming.  He felt dishonored because we didn’t want to stay with him because he was freaking out which just made him freak out more.  He was finally convinced by his friends to go home. We all piled back into the other cars.  We were given cushions and blankets and told we would all camp out.   Somehow, it ended up just being me, Amanda, and Abraham who was really creepy so it ended up being awkward.  And all the cars were gone.

So we slept on a rock in the desert outside of the Bedouin Camp outside of Petra.

Fortunately a truck came back to pick us up in the morning.  We loaded up our stuff and got a ride back to Beduoin village. We had some tea with Abraham and the other friends in room that was full of mattresses and like ten people sleeping.  We really just wanted to leave and see Petra.  Eventually we got a ride back to the visitor’s center.   Then we left our bags at an office near the entrance, bought our tickets and headed into Petra, stinky and wearing the same clothes from the day before.

But it was all worth it once we saw the unbelievable beauty of Petra.  It is really one of the most magical, impressive places I have ever seen.

The first thing you approach is the Siq a long and winding valley of beautiful pink sandstone.  At the end of the Siq, you see a glimpse of the Treasury, the building from Indiana Jones.  It was breath-taking in terms of scale!  It was also really impressive how well preserved all of the carved buildings were.  You could see the Roman, Egyptian and Hellenistic influences combining.  We walked down the trail further, through the Colonnaded Street and then finally to a big hike up to Monastery, another huge carved temple. We made it there close to noon with no real food in our bellies but we did our best to stay hydrated.  Amanda rode a camel for the first time and we made our way back to the entrance to end our Petra adventure.

We made our way to taxis where we met Jake (a peacecorp volunteer) traveling with two Americans, Ashley and Megan. Megan was wearing a UVA hat and it turned out that she was from Virginia Beach!  We ended up sharing cab to bus terminal and they offered for us to share their apartment with them in Aqaba!

  • Our Beduoin Camp Near Petra
  • Our Beduoin Camp Near Petra
  • Waking Up in the Desert Near Petra
  • Beduoin Desert Car
  • Happy to Finally Be At Petra!
  • The Siq
  • Through the Valley of the Crescent Moon...
  • The Treasury
  • Beatrice at the Treasury
  • Guards at the Treasury
  • Adam and Mandy at the Treasury
  • Beatrice on a Camel
  • Desert Kids at Petra
  • Man on a Donkey at Petra
  • Musician at Petra
  • Petra Camels
  • Nabatean Houses
  • Mandy in a Petra Cave
  • In Need of a Garage Door
  • Mandy climbing to the Monastery
  • Climbing to the Monastery
  • Adam in a Petra Cave
  • Petra Donkey
  • Monastery at Petra
  • Monastery at Petra
  • Amanda on a Camel
  • Camel Ride Through Petra
  • Amanda on a Camel
  • Thirsty Camel

Posted: July 24, 2012

Author: Adam and Amanda

Category: Blog, Continents, Jordan, Middle East

+1 Comment
  1. [...] of all. It is a monastery that is built into the side of a cliff. It’s sort of like Petra, and even though it’s smaller it’s nice because you can go in and explore all the [...]

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