Wednesday, November 9: This morning I lounge in my warm bed at the Rocky Mountain Hotel and think about what to do with my day. On my first day in Petra, I had to make a decision, without even knowing how much time it would take to see the place, whether to buy the one- , two- , or three-day pass. It was 50 dinar (~$70) to buy the ticket for one day, 55 dinar (~$77) for two days, and 60 (~$84) for three. EXPENSIVE, right?? Since I knew I’d be in Wadi Musa, the town next to Petra, for 3 days, I went ahead and got the ticket for 3 days, just in case. Yesterday, I went to Wadi Rum so I didn’t use my 2nd day pass.
Since I sleep in this morning and miss the early bus back to Amman, I now have to wait till 4:00 to catch the next bus. So, I feel I should take advantage and at least use my third day pass that I already paid for.
This time, Matt will not be along as he headed back to Madaba, home of Byzantine-era mosaics. So, this time I can go alone, soak in the ambiance and beauty that is Petra in peace and quiet, and make the long climb up to the High Place of Sacrifice.
I pack my bag, get a ride with a couple from the hotel down to Petra, ride the horse to the entrance, walk through As-Siq again. This time, as it is later in the morning, the light is gorgeous, richer, the walls of the canyon more of a deep terra-cotta. I take my time, watch the people, absorb nature’s striated paintings of color on the vertical rock faces. I look up at the blue sky coming through the crevasses, the sunlight streaming in. I step aside to let the horse buggies clatter past. I take pictures in a different light and in fact I see the place all afresh, silently, without incessant chatter about sports to mar my experience.
Again, by the time I get to the Treasury and then to the place where you start the climb to the High Place of Sacrifice, my legs are already tired so I take another donkey to the top. These steps are much steeper but not as far distance-wise, so I’m at the top in no time flat. Yes, call me lazy if you like…
At the top of the High Place of Sacrifice, all I see are some good views, but not as good as the views I saw near the other sacrifice lookout near the Monastery on Monday. There is a good view of Petra down below. The High Place was the venue for important religious ceremonies honoring Nabataean gods. It was perhaps also used for funeral rites.
After wandering around a bit at the top, I walk back down the steep steps back to the Street of Facades, where I begin the long walk back out of Petra, past the Treasury again, and down As-Siq and then take the horse again from the entrance to the main gate.
At that point I take a walk in the streets looking for the Red Cave Restaurant so I can have some lunch. The restaurant has walls of smooth stones and is spacious and cool and has local Bedouin specialties. I order some beef keftah with vegetables which is excellent.
After lunch I look briefly into the little gift shops and come away empty-handed. I catch a taxi back to the hotel, where I soon catch another taxi with a young lady from the hotel to the bus station. We get on the bus to Amman and ride for 3-4 hours until we reach the center of the city again. Luckily the Eid holiday is winding down and the noise level has subsided greatly. Thank goodness.
At least this time it isn’t raining in Amman, and so I venture out, at the hotel staff’s suggestion, to a restaurant called Hashem about a 10-minute walk away. There, in a dirty little alley, is a dirty little restaurant with plastic tables. The owner, noting that I am alone, sticks me at a table with a young couple from Spain. The Spanish couple is teaching in Palestine; he teaches Spanish and she teaches English. They are also in Jordan for the Eid. I order Jordanian foul: Fava beans, salt, garlic, green peppers, lemon. It is absolutely delectable. I eat it all, every last bite, soaking it up with my pita bread. For such a dive of a restaurant, the food was out of this world!!
When I arrive back at the hotel, I ask whether the staff was able to find anyone going to Jerash and the north tomorrow. In fact, he says, two Italian men are going to Jerash and I can accompany them. Fun times!