Little Petra - Wadi Rum

Trip Start May 06, 2006
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Trip End Ongoing


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Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Little Petra

Most people don't get to see Little Petra which is just a few kilometers outside of Petra. It is free to enter this site. Similar to Petra but a smaller version. It has a rock too - elephant rock which is on the way. There are not many tourists here but still some Bedouins selling souvenirs. Some people choose to stay in Bedouins camps instead of hotels. That will be me if I return to Jordan.

The trip to Wadi Rum was interesting - we stopped to play in the snow. Sue started a snow fight - she is so childish sometimes! As ever - amazing scenery. It is difficult to see but in photo labeled Little Petra 7 there is the monument (white dot) being built to Aaron- Moses' brother - right at the top of Jebel Haroun. It is where he is supposed to be buried.

More detail here: Aaron's Tomb

We followed the King's Highway to Wadi Rum - saw many graves along the side of the road. Mohamad explained that when people died on the trip, they bury them just underground and mark the spot by putting a column of 5-6 stones on top.

This is the story Mohamad told us about the King's Highway:

King's Highway derives from the even earlier episode recounted in Genesis 14, when an alliance of "4 kings from the north" marched their troops along this route to do battle against the 5 kings of the Cities of the Plain, including the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. The invading monarchs captured Lot, Abraham's nephew (pbut), before retreating, only to be chased and overpowered near Damascus by Abraham, who rescued Lot before continuing his mission. This may have happened around 5000 years ago.

More details here:  King's Highway


Wadi Rum
{Wadi means valley)

Arrived at Wadi Rum late morning. Saw an accident along the road - Mohamad stopped to let the local police know. It is an interesting drive - about 110 kph speed limit although we were continually overtaken - we were doing 130 kph. Every now and then we had to slow right down to 60 kph and go over speed bumps - they called this a "speed control" section! Seemed to be no reason for them except as a hassle or to wake up the drivers. More dangerous than the open road.

Wadi Rum - amazing. We hired our own 4wd driver and headed off. We had a choice of an open-backed 4WD or a closed in one. Open-backed it was.
This is Lawrence of Arabia country. I took some good video of us in the back of the 4wd flying across the red desert sand. Other 4wd's were racing us.

Had some good Bedouin tea and dressed up at a tent near the Isle of Lawrence. A pretty young girl (big brown eyes) sold us some special desert herbs (4 JD) so that we can make tea at home. (We have had a few cups back in Doha. I mentioned to Sue that the herbs were probably found in the desert where the camels grazed. The distinctive flavour may be camel's piss. She still likes drinking it.)

While I was driving along, I couldn't stop thinking about the parts of Australia I have yet to visit. I told Mohamad about Uluru, Bungle Bungles (Purnululu), McDonnell ranges and the red bull dust of Australia. He had a hard time saying these terms. WA and NT are now on the list!

I kept looking for the sugar cane and the ocassional still - but couldn't see any. Perhaps they make the rum somewhere else and just drink it here??! Bundaberg would be a good place to make it.
[just joking]
If time permits, I would like to come back here and spend a few nights with the Bedouins - waking up to these views would be magic. Some westerner-types have come here for a week and still here ten years later - they have just dropped out of society as we know it to get back to the basic simple life. Mmm - food for thought there.

Had a wonderful Arabic type lunch inside the restaurant that they had prepared for us. Mohamad knew all of these people and we just sat down and watched the food come out. Chicken is great here - most is free range.17 JD the lot for all of us.

Part of Wadi Rum used to be the ocean floor that was raised up after a series of earthquakes. The softer bits were eroded away by the rivers that flowed here once. Hence the layers in the rocks. I kept looking for signs of fossils (everyone wondered why I was looking on the ground) but I think the pressure of the earthquakes metmorhosed the sedimentary rocks. There are also granite outcrops.

Trip back to Amman was hectic - only three hours but at 130 kph with the occasional 60 kph 'speed control' at dusk was not so enjoyable. Mohamad put on his Arabic music to keep himself awake. We stopped for a rest at a shop of the side of the road. A few buses came in. They had come from Mecca. They were on their way back to Palestine.

More than 3 million people do the pilgrimage each year for the Eid al-Adha and Hajj. Hajj is where they all walk around the big black stone (Kaaba) in Mecca. It is a lot more than this but this is what we see on the news.
Hajj


The movie "the Message" was on TV the night before we left for Jordan - gave us a good background to the Muslim faith. I recommend non-Muslims to watch it.

The Message

I forgot to mention that we saw many sheep being sacrificed on the sides of the roads throughout Jordan. Seemed normal in a place like this. I have worked in an abattoir so had no negative thoughts of such goings-on. In Doha, many sheep were being sold before we left for Jordan.

At the end of the pilgrimage, Muslims throughout the world celebrate the Festival of Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha). During this celebration, Muslims commemorate and remember the Prophet Abraham, by themselves slaughtering an animal such as a sheep, camel, or goat. This action is very often misunderstood by those outside the faith.

Enough religion for now.

Got back to the hotel in Amman at about 8:00 pm. Time for a sleep.
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