Thursday, July 16, 2009

Jordan Tripping; Petra, Little Petra to Amman

12th July:
We decided, too,to abort the side trip to Wadi Rum on our way back to Amman as the heat of the desert would not have made the experience of a two hour jeep ride and walk into the cliffs of the area very pleasant. Without the extra day of walking around Petra we elected to drive out to Little Petra,an outlying village on the route towards Petra itself.

Before we left Joy and I walked down to the corner store to buy a couple of bottles of water. We walked past a couple sitting on their doorstep eating breakfast and drinking tea. Joy greeted them with a breezy “salaam alaykum” and was promptly offered tea and food by the couple. We politely declined the offer as we’d only just eaten at the hotel and headed off to meet our driver, Saber, and take off on our drive to Little Petra.

Elephant Marker indicating routeto Petra from Little Petra

Here we saw the sophistication of the Nabataean engineering in the huge 1.2 million litre cistern cut into a sandstone bluff which acted as one of the catchments for both Little and Big Petra and the surrounding villages when Petra was at the height of its power.

Joy, tempted by the acoustics of the place,sang “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” so she can now claim to have sung in the cistern chapel.

Little Petra or Siq el-Barid was a way station on the trade route which means that the buildings carved from the cliffs could have been inns and shops to supply the traders on their long walk through the sandstone desert towards Petra.

Little Petra, like Petra itself, is built amidst the sandstone rocks with all the holes, indentations and caves that such a landscape creates. We couldn’t help but imagine that the place would sound like a strange and wild orchestra at night with a desert wind blowing and whining over the rocks and through the holes. It would become a place of night djinns and spirits wailing for release from whatever torments they were experiencing. Not the place for a camping trip with the grand-children?

Here the surviving large wall painting from the Nabataean period was undergoing restoration by a couple of archeologist restorers who were perched on scaffolding in a room that could only be reached by climbing a series of sand slippery steps high above the siq floor.

Otherwise the area was deserted to echo to the chirrup of insects and the occasional whirr of a bird flickering through the cliffs.

From there we headed into Wadi Mousa to explore the souvenir shops where Joy bought an arabic style silver mirror decorated with silver chains and charms and I got a Petra tie and a pack of genuine Jordanian coffee to savour with Koro on our return to New Zealand.

I also cleared the e mail to discover that there will be a Cohort VI and the possibility of a new contract in the Gulf was ever nearer.

Tomorrow it is back to Amman with a shopping stop before booking into our hotel for our final night in Jordan.
Sunset over Wadi Mousa

1 comment:

workhard said...

Your description is really wonderful.. djinns being trapped...LOL!!!!!nice pics...

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