Little Petra / Siq al-Barid
This place, much like Petra deserves a post all to itself and so that is what I will give it.
Looking past the wide mouth of the considered entrance into the further depths of Little Petra, you’re not sure what you’re seeing exactly. Interesting rock formations, yes, but what is really there? However as you start to walk through and you look at the rock walls you see entrance and steps built right in. It looks as if it comes straight from a fairy tale and you wouldn’t be surprised if a person adorned with jewels and Kohl rimmed eyes came out of one in order to greet you. That didn’t happen of course…at least not there.
Here was where I gained my first true awareness into the warmness of the people of Jordan. As I walked along, I noticed a number of families there, many waved and a few noticing the camera in my hands pointed toward their little ones and encouraged me to take a snap. So I did. Who can resist taking a picture of this adorable and shy little lady!
I then came across a lady that smiled at me and indicated that she’d like to take a photo with me. She pulled me toward her we hugged and then snapped away! I took a good shot on my phone that I transferred to her son’s via Bluetooth. He thought it was strange that I didn’t have Facebook on my mobile, as from what I noticed it’s the most common social media tool in Jordan.
That wouldn’t be the last of my interactions but I went back to taking snapshots of the amazing carved entrances and stair paths around me. There was a Bedouin man that tried to convince me he was part of a excavation team that found ancient coins and tried to sell me a few. However I’d read up on this before visiting and was told that any claims to this effect were not true. So I didn’t take him up on the offer. However I boosted the bank accounts of many Bedouin the next day in Petra in case you’re thinking of me as skint 😉
Finally it was obvious that the path was narrowing considerably, right up until this boulder right that you see below. As I approached it I thought that meant “this is the end of Little Petra time to turn back now” and I almost did when I encountered two Irish women coming from trying to climb that rock and they told me that they started up the carved steps, but they became slippery and so they head back down as they didn’t want to become stuck or injure themselves since the light was waning. Well I had a secret weapon: Wesam. So I figured I’d at least try to make my way up and if I became stuck or something horrid was happened and I fell over a cliff, Wesam would at some point come looking for me and could find some help, and so I pressed on.
Climbing up with a bag and a DSLR camera wasn’t the easiest thing to do but I made it.
As I moved along I heard the sound of young voices behind me. There were three boys putting me to shame at the speed they moved up the rock, which had been to me nothing short of scaling Denali. With a a bit more effort I made it up and moved through the sliver of a space to the other side. I arrived and noticed little areas with pans and other signs of habitation. Finally I came onto a small clearing that overlooked a gorgeous valley lined with breathtaking rock formations, as well as two people.
One of whom was a Bedouin man who could have come straight out of a storybook. He was sitting there talking to a woman from Spain as was surrounded by jewelry that he was selling. Yes, I did buy something this time, a pretty bracelet that I’d intended to give away but after seeing how nice it looked I paid for it, put it into a shirt pocket and decided it would be mine.
The gorgeous valley of rocks from the lookout point past the formation. I’d love to spend a day hiking around here.
After a little while it was time to go back, and while climbing up that rock was hard I honestly didn’t see how I was going to get back down considering the smoothness of some of the “steps”. Well I had no need to worry, my young heroes were there to save the day.
These young gentlemen I’m sure noticed the time I had getting up and said to themselves “there’s no way she’s getting down without serious injury or our help, so we’re opting for the latter.” Am I glad they did! One went in front of me to guide on the right path, one held my hand and helped me climb over certain parts and the other stayed by my side. All the while they said “It’s’ okay, it’s okay” and “We love you” The only English I think that they knew, and what endearing words to learn! My habibis حبيبي !
Thankfully we didn’t all tumble forward in a giant heap but alas my heroes helped me safely down, said their goodbyes and took off running back to their families. I think that they were the sons of some of the people I’d had interactions with earlier. Jordanian hospitality at its finest. Shukran شكرا جزيلا my young friends!
Leaving little Petra as the sun glimpsed off of the rocks brought unexpected nuances to the curves and angles. Like in Petra the colors of the surrounds vastly change depending on the light and time of day.
Then we were back on the road again for the short trip to Wadi Musa where the ancient Nabbatean city of Petra lay for me to explore the next day.
On observation that was very nice to see, was that Jordanian families really enjoy the outdoors. You’d see people with their pickup trucks and cars making bonfires and enjoying the sunset. Many of them preparing to camp overnight in the area.
We however drover though the small town in Wadi Mousa that houses many people who are decedents of Palestinian refugees who went to live in the Rose Red city. The government decided to move them out and built a town for them to live in.
Next stop the hotel I opted for: Petra Guest House Hotel
I chose it because it is right at the entrance of Petra though showing slight signs of wear on the interior walls however the customer service was top notch, and I had a large room with two double beds and a good view.
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