Petra, Jordan

07.02.2010

I was woken up around 5a this morning by all the people in my room getting ready to leave for a day trip to Wadi Rum.  I couldn’t get back to sleep so I got up, took a shower, and packed up my stuff.  I needed to find another place to stay.

I ate breakfast, then got my computer out and started doing some research on places to stay in Wadi Musa.  Michelle and Katia were staying at Sabaa, just down the street and they said it was pretty nice, so I decided to walk over there to see if they had anything open.  My plan was to do at least one night there and try to get a hold of Ghassab.

Gail, one of the owners, greeted me warmly and said they had a room available and the price was pretty good, especially since I would have my own room with bathroom.  I took it and went off to find an ATM to get some money.  I found one that worked with my card and returned to the hostel to get settled in.

I got my day pack together and went back downstairs to ask Gail about the best way to get to Petra from here.  She recommended I walk, it was only about 15 minutes (downhill) and about 30 minutes (uphill and in the heat) to walk back.  It sounded good to me so I set off for Petra.

Petra and the government of Jordan have set a new price structure for entrance into Petra.  If you enter at the Eilat border crossing, you don’t have to pay an entrance tax anymore.  It was only 5JD anyways, which is about $6.50USD.  The Jordanian government figures most people are crossing at that border to go to Petra, so they raised the rate for admission into Petra at the beginning of the year from 21JD to 33JD for a one day pass, 38JD for a two day pass and I can’t remember what the three-day pass costs, but it was close to 60JD, I think.  Starting November 2010, the rate is going up to 50JD for one day pass!  Um yeah.  I can get into ALL of the U.S. National Parks for a YEAR for the same price!  I really hope there is a rebellion of some sort with tourists and that their admission numbers decrease so maybe the Jordanian government will realize they are being greedy.  Their justification is that they are making things more “eco”-friendly.  Um yeah, in order to do that, you will need to get rid of all the camels, horses and burros giving rides to tourists.  I could go on about how bad all of this tourism is for the conservation of Petra, but I won’t.

I took a horse from the main entrance of Petra to the Siq and then walked the rest of the way.  The first major attraction is The Treasury, made famous in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”.  I’ll admit it, I hummed the theme song to the movie as I approached.  I couldn’t help myself!

Petra is HUGE and I had already decided I was not going to see everything, so I walked from the entrance all the way to the end of the “trail”. I stopped at one of the cheaper restaurants and took advantage of the all-you-can-eat 10JD buffet.  I ran into the trio I had shared the taxi with and we ate together.  They were trying to convince me to go to the Monastery with them but I was exhausted and had planned to head back into town and chill out for the night.

I walked back up the trail and stopped again at The Treasury to take more pictures since the lighting was better.  I made it back to the hostel about 30 minutes later and took a nap before heading out for dinner.

I went to a place just around the corner and had a chicken kebab, arab salad and a coca cola.  I ended up meeting a woman from Canada and chatted with her for a bit.  I went back to the hostel and spent the evening chatting with Gail and Ibrahim as well as some other travelers.