( Oct. 1st, 2007 08:49 am)
okay, Im back from Petra and may I just say, holy shit! I have a few pictures but my camera died right after we saw the treasury. I plan on going back to get more pictures before I leave, plus I have a request for a vial of sand that I need to fill.

The whole weekend was pretty extreme. we started at Wadi Rum, which is the desert valley used to film lawrence of arabia, and is also a favorite place of the real lawrence of arabia. we rode in the flat beds of pickup trucks across the desert to different mountains with carvings on them of camel caravans, climbed up some glorious rock formations and watched the sun set behind the mountains of the wadi. The moon was full that night and we camped in "Captain's Desert Camp" which is structured very like a bedouin camp except for the fact that it's stationary and they provides you with a bed and mosquito netting. We had dinner in the center of camp with a bonfire and musicans. After dinner, a bunch of us got up and danced. We danced until the musicians couldnt play anymore. Then we went for a moonlight hike out in the desert.

I got to sit on top of a rock formation in the moonlight. Everything was glowing, even the air was like breathing quicksilver.

the next morning, we got up at 8 and left at 9. We rode camels for about 4 hours across the wadi. It was a fantastic sight, 60 camels, ambling across the desert. I felt like a queen up there : )
My camel's name was Alyan, and he was either very affectionate or very hungry. A few times when we stopped, he rubbed his head against me, and then proceeded to try and nibble on my purse : ) He was a very sweet camel considering one girls camel kept sitting down and trying to shake her off, and another camel spent the whole trip bellowing because her calf kept wandering off.

we spent that night in another bedouin camp about 12 KM from Petra. This is where things started to go downhill. A good half of my group act less mature than the Resident Director's hyperactive 6 year old. It got very irritating very quick. Once we got to petra it was better but Petra in general has a few issues.

first of all, there are people with camels, horses and donkeys all offering rides inside the Petra site, and despite the valiant efforts of the cleaning crews to prevent this, there is still scat everywhere. the other problem is the people from the nearby village who come into the site with the same six or seven necklaces, bracelets, soapstone boxes and cheap little kitschy crap from India and then assault you wherever you go trying to get you to pay 6 dinars (about 9 US dollars) for "genuine handmade camel bone necklaces" and other assorted tourist crapola. there are a few stands that sell actual locally made crafts, but they are much more expensive. Especially the jewelery since its sold by the weight of the silver.

To top it off, it was at the end of a weekend of camping and hard core activity so we were all tired, it was brutally hot and I got my period while we were there. Also, when we were leaving, because I was feeling sick and exhausted (I had hiked up a mountain to see the Monastery at the top) I fell behind. Outside of the siq (the gorge you have to walk through to get to the treasury) there are a buch of guys with horses that will give you a ride up to the gate. One guy followed me and insisted on giving me a ride "as compliment" he said. He actually ran up behinn me with the horse and brought it in front of me. I accepted because it would be faster than walking. Big mistake. He spent the whole ride up hitting on me, ignoring the fact that I have a husband (he said " you marry him in America, have honeymoon here with me! He will never know"), insisted on getting my phone number (i gave him the wrong one) and when I dismounted he hugged me and tried to kiss me. Not how I would have preferred to end my weekend.

Other than the period, the sexual harrasment and people in my group being idiots, I had a great time. I plan on going back to Wadi Rum at the earliest possible opportunity. Petra as well. Im not going to let one creep ruin my experience : )

As soon as I can figure out how to get the pictures of the trip off of my phone, I will post them. you guys'll get to see me all wrapped up like a bedouin woman : )




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