Jordan adventures continued... and one accident

Trip Start Sep 18, 2010
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24
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Trip End Jul 27, 2011


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Where I stayed
Saba'a Hotel Wadi Musa

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Aahhhhh....Petra! Thinking we had enough adventure for the past few days, we arrive in Wadi Musa the village at the foot of the ancient city Petra. What else could happen? Well, a lot more than I could have imagined. I am writing this some time later and can't stop laughing, giggling, shaking my head at how much adventure we packed into this one country.

The first 700 meters towards Petra, you typically cover by horse. I am a bit annoyed at being led in on a lazy horse. Arriving at the gate, Manu and I start haggling with a horse handler, who tries to convince us that he can show us Petra from angles you only get to by horse. Eventually, we agree to splurge a bit and I get the handler's horse after complaining about the lazy one I had on the way in. Manu ends up with that one after expressing hesitations about her riding expertise. So there we are, me on on my Arabian beauty Rover and Manu on Mr. William, guided by Mahmoud, who joins us on foot, up the hills. The landscape is yet again more beautiful than any of our pictures can prove. I get my stretch of galloping which is exhilarating. Mahmoud remembers to tell me to stop at the end before the cliff, else Rover will keep running. He only tells me this after I arrive at that cliff end. Thankfully, I had intuitively stopped before it. I loved the run, so I turn back for another round. Mahmoud wants to race me on Manu's horse, while she waits by the cliffs. I already knew that Rover can run, but this time I am in for a real Arabian horse experience. I think Rover is flying and when I scream of joy, she runs even faster. Wow! Now I know why Arabian horses are special. Turning back to the cliffs once more, I get rather nervous. Rover is galloping her lungs out, but I am struggling to control her when she keeps trying to turn back towards 'home'. Before this, I thought I can ride well enough. Not so sure anymore now. 

We watch the sunset high above the Petra roman style theatre. Magnificent. Turning back, it starts getting dark, but we are still or yet again elated. The horses know their way back by heart and in the dark. Trouble is, the terrain is quite slippery and Manu's horse is not yet fully trained (hence it is slower, counter-intuitive to what I would expect). As we ride across a particularly slippery rock on a slope, Mr. William slips and falls, sliding down the hillside. Of course, as accidents of this nature go, Manu is still caught in the stirrups and gets dragged down with the horse. Oh my!. A few heart throbbing seconds later, Manu frees herself from the stirrup and Mr. William catches himself before he is gone down the abyss. Phew. Everyone still alive. It takes a few moments until Manu knows if she is hurt or not. Of course, she is a trouper, but it is obvious that her foot is not happy and she's got a massive skin scrape on her side. Having a horse fall on you does that. Manu won't stop worrying about the horse even hough she is clearly hurt herself and Mahmoud of course feels bad about this happening at all. We should not have been up on the hills this late. 

The next day, she can barely walk and I have to talk her into coming back to Petra. She does not want to be a burden, but I convince her that there are enough ways to see the site without the need to walk. She will thank me later :) 
Due to our latest adventure, we are somewhat known in the city now and Mahmoud who still feels bad about the incident, helps organize the horses to the gate. Then he engages his cousin (or uncle?) Ahmed to take us in for free with his horse carriage. It is a rocky, but fun and beautiful ride through the Siq gorge. At the end of the gorge, we catch our first glimpse of the first major site, the treasury Al-Khazneh. This awe-inspiring master piece of human work makes it all worth every pain, challenge and unwanted adventures we might otherwise have regretted so far. (Well, easy for me to say anyways, as I didn't get hurt.)
From here, we walk a bit, while trying to negotiate a price for camels to take us in further. After much negotiation, we agree to take donkeys for the rest of the way. There are 800 steps to be climbed up the Ad-Deir Monastery overlooking the valley. In retrospect I would not have cared to walk them up anyways. Manu takes the donkey back, while I explore a little further and then walk back down and out of this majestic city of pink rocks. I am so overwhelmed by this experience that I am lost for words when thinking about how one might describe it to someone who was not there. So rather than attempt that, I will leave you with a link on some history and suggest you google descriptions.
http://www.visitjordan.com/default.aspx?tabid=63

Back at the gate I convince a horse handler to give me his Arabian stallion and let me gallop through the tourist path. He agrees, but I have to promise to stop before a certain point, where security staff would get him into trouble if they saw me without his guidance. My legs and arms are shaking from the soarness of yesterday as I try to contain the power of my horse 'Moon'. I hear Manu call me from a rock in front of a cave where she stopped to wait while drinking tea with Mahmoud. My horse handler refuses his tip when he realizes we are friends with Mahmoud. 

A few teas and quick dinner later, it is dark and we need to get on our way back to Amman. We don't listen to the warnings of locals to not drive by night. Phhttt! Just because we are girls, we can't drive at night? Ha! It takes us just a few seconds on the high way to realize that people were not exaggerating. It is pitch black and there are NO lights whatsoever. You can't see more than a couple of meters in front of  the car. And so, feeling like silly little girls we turn back to spend another night in Wadi Musa.

Oh yes, I also missed to mention a flat tire we had to have fixed for the outrageous fee of 0.5 Jordanian Dinar. That's the equivalent of 50 Euro cents. This was the price we got, because a super sweet staffer from our hotel took the car in for us. Had we shown up ourselves, surely we would have paid significantly more.

With our extra night in Wadi Musa, we now have to make our way to Amman and from there by bus to Beirut to catch a flight to Istanbul, all in less than 24 hours. But we're done with adventure, right?! What else could happen now? 

To be continued..... Stay tuned for the last part of our Jordan adventures ;)
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