A couple fighting Arabian Oryxes taking a break to check us out in Shaumari Reserve in eastern Jordan.
I have wanted to visit Petra for years! Ever since I saw Indiana Jones back in the 80's (although I knew of Petra well before this...), I started planning for a trip to this region. Well, in the spring of 2003, we finally did it!
Som, Cokie and I were able to squeeze one week in the amazing country of Jordan. We were a little nervous traveling to the Middle East so soon after 9-11, but we also realized this was a great time to visit as no one else was! And we even got some great rates! One scary side note however was when the Holiday Inn we stayed at for a couple nights in Amman, and enjoyed being invited to a Jordanian wedding, was bombed and destroyed the following year by a suicide bomber. Makes one think...
We spent about a day in Amman but our main goals were out of town. We B-lined it straight for Petra where we spent only two short days exploring the ruins and the surrounding region. Although we only had a brief introduction to this amazing place, we both felt we had a good first-exposure to the archaeological and natural wonders of this phenomenal city and region.
We trekked the complex for miles. Climbing inside the numerous tombs was a blast. While we were there, we heard a Gregorian choir singing inside the various chambers of the tombs giving everyone an amazing concert. I found it fascinating observing all of the chatting tourists become completely silent to listen to this beautiful choir fill the acoustically perfect chambers with beautiful music. This enhanced our experience of Petra tremendously.
We hired a couple mules to take us up to the tops of mountains to see more ruins such as the impressive Monastery, which I consider one of the most spectacular of all the facades in Petra. And to think, prior to my visiting Petra, I really thought it was basically one ruin - the famous "Treasury" facade only! This city is massive and stretches for miles!
We spent another period of time in Jordan's expansive Wadi Rum desert! Featured in so many movies, Wadi Rum is an amazing landscape that words cannot describe adequately. We enjoyed climbing the dunes and soaking in the scenery. We were supposed to camp with the Bedouins but were unable to as the region was experiencing a massive sand storm. Oh well, at least that allowed us one more night at Petra and some great Jordanian grub...and a great excuse to come back to Wadi Rum some day again. At least we had a great full day at Wadi Rum the following day.
We explored the other wadi and canyons of western Jordan for another day while heading up to the Dead Sea and Jordan River Valley. Here we explored impressive Biblically-sacred sights like Mount Nemo and other locations.
And of course I had to get some wildlife action in! We arranged for a trip to Shaumari Reserve, the last place in Jordan's desert to see semi-wild Arabian Oryx, Arabian Gazelles, Onager Wild Asses and other endangered Arabian fauna. And while there we actually had a great sighting of a wild endangered Arabian Wolf! Wow!
Our trip to Jordan concluded with a Castle-loop drive which allowed us to experience cool midieval oasis stops that were once the lodges and brothels for the massive caravans that once covered the great Arabian deserts.
Be sure to visit our Photo Galleries for more spectacular images of our travels! (Pbase Galleries)
Here are some images of our trip to Jordan!