PETRA!

Trip Start Jan 22, 2010
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Trip End May 29, 2010


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Flag of Jordan  ,
Monday, April 12, 2010

Wednesday morning we packed up all our stuff, checked out and headed to the bus station for our ride to Petra. Just to clarify- Garrett has a friend who lives in Jordan and his cousin works for a travel agency (a lovely coincidence!). He was able to help us a lot while traveling through Jordan- for example; we were able to get a bus ride to Petra for free from his cousin's travel agency!
So we went to the travel agency/ bus station and after waiting for a bit (you do a lot of this in the Middle East) we got on a huge bus and around 10am headed for Petra. We were the only passengers riding at the time- I thought the bus was kind of big for a private ride- but it turns out we were picking up tourists about 20 minutes away at a gorgeous resort/port in Jordan. They were in Jordan for a day trip to Petra and we were temporarily in their tour group while riding the bus- a nice little perk. The bus filled up and we set off for Petra (with a couple stops in between of course) arriving between 12:30 and 1pm at the bus station in Wadi Musa. We climbed off the bus with all of our luggage, thanked them for the ride and left the tour group. Garrett’s friend said he was going to  meet us in Petra at the bus station, so we walked around until we finally found him and we intently discussed what our next step should be. We had been planning to stay in Petra that night, but he convinced us to ride with him back to Amman that night instead. We were going to drive to Amman the next day anyway so it was just a simple change in time- and a free ride.  We loaded our luggage into his car and he drove us to the Marriot hotel where we were going to have lunch!!! His other cousin works at this Marriott, so we got in on a delicious lunch buffet with a great view of Wadi Musa (the town where Petra is located). Afterwards we headed back to the Visitor’s Center, bought our tickets for Petra and began walking through at about 3pm. It was pretty crowded, but not too horrible- I was in awe of every single thing I walked past and I snapped a ton of pictures because I couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing- and we hadn’t even reached the good part yet! The walls of reddish rock surrounding me were SO HUMONGOUS, I had trouble walking because I kept looking up instead of down and the ground was pretty rough and rocky. Oh and I was wearing flip flops- not exactly hiking shoes. I wasn’t prepared for the rigorous walking aspect so tripping was a natural occurrence. I was in shock the whole time I was here- I could not believe I was actually seeing Petra-one of the seven wonders of the ancient world!! When it was discovered it was considered the Lost City and it was carved into a mountain of red rock. It was created by the Nubians and it is said their style of architecture predates the Greek and Roman styles. There are gorgeous buildings spread out, literally carved into the mountain with intricate façade, and rooms inside. 
      The monastery is supposed to be one of the main attractions- but apparently you have to walk up 1,000 steps to get there. OK, no problem, -until I started to count and realized how high 1,000 really is. I was in flip flops and there were only five-10 steps at a time, then a lot of rough terrain, 5-10 more steps and then ½ a mile of rough mountain ground- I would have probably done better with 1,000 steps in a row. We finally reached the top and the view was spectacular- it literally made me gasp. The monastery was humongous and beautifully carved- I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that these people carved these structures into a mountain!!! We rested for quite awhile at the top- I didn’t want to think about having to go back down. We finally began the long journey back down, then back through the rest of Petra and towards the exit. It was around 7pm now and they were setting up for the night tour of Petra, which consisted of a candlelit path through all the old mountains and monuments. Lucky for us we were so late coming back, we were able to see part of the night tour while they were setting up- it was so beautiful. We finally reached the beginning and my legs were barely able to hold me up anymore- if I stopped walking for one minute I’d fall asleep on the spot. We decided to grab dinner at a Pizza place across the street (cheap and easy) but while we were there Haley began to get extremely ill.
We had still been planning on driving to Amman that night- but plans changed when she became so sick, and needed to lie down and stay somewhere. I got in a cab with her while Garrett and her friend walked back to his car and we went straight to the hotel we had been planning to stay at previously. We got out of the cab-turns out the rooms were full…of course. I began to walk down the street to another hotel, with Haley trailing slowly behind- they of course were booked too. Garrett and her friend met up with us and I walked into the hotel across  the street. Haley lay on the couch in the lobby and I met the jolliest hotel manager ever. Except he didn’t have any rooms either- so I casually pointed out my sick friend and played the sympathy card. He called a friend of his who owns a hotel, said a car would meet us and we could follow it to the hotel and there we would have a room ready and waiting. Thank God! I was overly worried about Haley and was afraid we were going to have to go to the hospital- something none of us wanted to do. When we finally got the room- kind of gross and disgusting but it was a room- Haley dove into bed, finally took some medicine, and after awhile fell asleep, and I felt sooo relieved. Garrett and her friend went back to a bar to watch a soccer game and since I was too tired to function I went right to bed. 
The next morning, she woke up good as new- so weird- and said she felt like she’d never even been sick. I was so very thankful for that, and we got dressed and ready to begin our day as if nothing had happened. Garrett’s friend said he would dive us to Amman that day but first we would stop at the Dead Sea on the way!!   
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