January 28, 2011

5 & 6 September 2010

5 September 2010

Today’s first leg too us to the Dead Sea. We went past the site where John the Baptist baptised Jesus and Mount Nebo where Abraham was supposed to sacrifice his son.

As the lowest point on earth you can understand the heat. It was phenomenal. I’ve never experienced anything similar. Everyone went for a quick swim but I skipped it. The salt content means that any kind of cut and abrasion stings like a bitch and I didn’t want that pleasure. I stood in the water and imagined the River Jordan meeting the Dead Sea and thought how amazing it was to be in the same landscape as Jesus.

I think we were only in the water about 45 minutes because of the heat. I think the temperature was in the high 40’s as on the night we arrived it was 55.

The rest of the day was taken up by the drive to Wadi Musa. The place where Moses struck the stone and found water. We arrived about 6 at the motel and they put on a buffet for us at 8.

Ange floating in the Dead Sea

Our group floating in the Dead Sea

View of the Dead Sea from shore

Kate (L) and Helen (R) soaking their feet in the Wadi Musa Spring where Moses is said to have struck the rock.

6 September 2010

Woke up to one of the most exciting days of the tour this morning.


We arrived at the site shortly after 7am and were met by our tour guide Arkmood. He was beautiful and so nice. He gave us an overview of the history that was going on as the site developed, and led us down to the Siq.

Through this walkway are many shrines to gods and depictions of them. In all the depictions the images have no face because the gods do not deal directly with humans. All the way through Bruno kept a running commentary of one liners. I just wish I could remember what half of them were.

After about 2kms Arkmood stopped us and asked if we believed that good things come to those who wait. With all of us nodding in agreement he motioned that something good was waiting for us around the corner. We all went to look and there was our first glimpse of the Treasury.

Before I forget, Arkmood asked us to come look at an inscription. Once enough heads were down he said “made in China”. His other throwaway line was “it’s not the size of the boat, it’s the motion of the ocean”.
Back at our first view of the Treasury there were many photos taken. I don’t think to many people passed on the opportunity.
Bloody Camels

The Treasury

Once inside proper there were more photos taken, singularly and as the group in front. I had a lady ask me to take her photo too.

One of the things I can’t get over is the number of cats in Jordan and Syria. Every time you turn around there’s another one. Some of them are creepy.

Mother and Kitten. No idea what the kitten is doing. It's twisted around at an odd angle.

We were then led to the valley of something. I’ll have to Google it. (note I still haven’t done that). It’s basically where all the burials start to happen from. All the tombs started work from the top down. There are two eagles on the tombs. The right hand side takes the soul to heaven and the left hand side takes the soul to hell. On one side are the tombs of the average people and on the other side are burials of the wealthy.
Arkmood led us to one of the tombs to show us the natural colours of Petra. They are spectacular and beautiful. I can’t believe how vibrant they are and the way they all run together.

Sitting under a pistachio tree Arkmood told the story of how the Jordanians government decided to move all the Nabateans out of Petra. One old lady refused to leave her home. She wanted to stay surrounded by her ancestors. The Prince of Jordan visited her and asked her why she was being foolish and stubborn in refusing to leave her cave. She learnt then who he was and she came back offering him a knife. She asked him to stab her in the heart because she would have an honourable death. The Prince, at this, decided she could stay and he organised her to have a monthly pension up until she passed away.

From here we walked a distance further to where some Roman structural remains stand. Here the tour finished. We were shown the other two options we had and were left to our own devices. Our group went with the first option of climbing the 814 steps up to the Monastery.

In front on the Monastry

This trek nearly killed me. I have never experienced such tiredness and pain. Thank god Ange was with me cause I would have quit and never made it up.

But make it up I bloody did. It was slow going. I think it took about an hour and a half. When we got all the way up I started to cry. It was the sheer relief, the beauty of the Monastery itself and because Penny was cheering us on from the look out. It feels wonderful to know they were all waiting for us.

We stayed at the Monastery for about an hour or so before making the descent, which only took about 45 minutes. From here it was the walk back to the gate. Dear Lord, how I made it I will never know. Guess it helps to have two stubborn grandmothers.

Ange, Kate, Helen and I got a taxi back to the motel and spent the afternoon with our feet in icy cold water on the Wadi Musa spring. It was so cold we all lost feeling in our feet after a while, but it was great.
Even with the heat and the pain this day has been the best day yet!

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