I was not going to be able to start data collection until four days after we arrived. From the airport, instead of driving north to the university we rented a car and drove south on the Desert Highway to Wadi Musa, the home of Petra. We learned the rules of the road quickly. Lanes are more of a suggestion. Honking is meant mainly to urge caution more so than to communicate anger. You can pass another car whenever you want, but do it quickly. The police will stop you at random checks, but they were always friendly to us. Within a day of landing we were standing in front of Al Khazneh, “The Treasury”, which most people picture when they think of “Petra” especially if they have seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade which had parts filmed there. What I did not realize until we had a map and started to walk around was how much there is to see. It’s not just one wall, it’s an entire Nabataean city with the remains of a complex culture and incredibly engineered water system. We decided to explore on our own instead of getting a guide and watched the following NOVA documentary. #travelingonabudget (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CowfQRzYoI )
As stunning as Al Khazneh was, my favorite monument was Ad Deir, “The Monastery”. It’s 4km along the main walk through Petra and then 850 steps up. It is thought to be one of the first structures built and is breathtaking in person.
From Wadi Musa we went to Wadi Rum, another popular tourist destination in Jordan. We met Ahmad, a 23-year-old Bedouin who spent his young life building a small business of taking tourists out into the desert. He told us that he had the option of going to a university after he finished secondary school, but did not want to be in a classroom for his whole life. He said he was happy to spend his days outside in the desert, close to his family where he felt most at peace. With him as our guide we spent the day driving around in a Jeep, rode a camel, climbed a mountain of sand and spent the night in one of the desert camps in a small hut under the stars.
Wadi Rum, Jordan.