Wednesday 20 February - Petra Jordan

   We're thinking of our family back home today as they gather to remember and celebrate the life of Janice's aunt, Della Patterson, a very funny feisty beloved woman. RIP Aunt Della.
   Really slept well and had no trouble waking up at 5am. Walking over to the main building for breakfast we realized we could see the Dead Sea. We hope to have a chance to get into it before we leave.
   On the 4-hour drive to Petra we saw the agricultural land of the Jordan Valley give way to grazing (herds of sheep and goats), then to semi-arid and desert areas with mining and processing of phosphates as well as uranium.
Power lines cross the area, bringing electricity from Egypt. We saw solar panels in fields and on houses, as well as a couple of wind farms in the hill areas. Most dwellings have stone or concrete block walls enclosing them. Neither landscapes nor dwellings have a lot of colour.
   This is near where the Israelites spent 38 years in the desert before spending 2 years in Jordan to reach Mt Nebo. Sadly, as in so many parts of the world, roadsides and even fields are heavily littered with plastic trash. As we climbed closer to Petra there were small patches of snow in the fields, remnants of a heavy fall just a few days ago. From our lunch stop we had a wonderful view over the entrance to Petra and in the other direction to hills in another colour, made of harder material than the softer red sandstone of Petra.
   Larry and I chose the "carriage" option for the trip through the siq to the Treasury. It's a long, rough walk and we wanted to try and go farther into the site. We were then able to walk into the area we hadn't seen when we were snowed out of there before. It is an awe-inspiring place.
Great beauty. Amazing workmanship. The siq -- the long canyon entrance -- is a surprise at every turn, and so narrow that I was afraid we'd mow down unsuspecting pedestrians as we bounced behind the trotting horse! We missed Kusai's explanations and also the group photo at the Treasury, but the trade-off was worth it, as was the long, cold wait for our return carriage.

   We were ready to depart about 90 minutes before its scheduled return, but had to abide by that time. Pastor David was about to walk out, saw me shivering and gave me his jacket. Blessings on Pastor David! He gave me the coat off his own back!

While we were waiting for our carriage some of our group returned on their camel transport.  We were last out, so when we arrived everyone headed back to the bus. Meanwhile, we had chatted with several interesting people who were also waiting for carriages. The 4-hour trip back to the hotel involved quite a bit of dozing on the bus, and was broken only by a 15-minute pit stop.
   We were given another tasty late dinner and will be retiring early because it'll be another 5am wake-up call as we prepare to leave for Israel in the morning. No Dead Sea floating this time.

 Link to Other Photos of the Day at Petra

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