Monday, July 20, 2009

Petra by night and fake Mahmoud

Tonight Clare and I were the only ones to go on the Petra by night
excursion from our group. If you ever go to Petra, you MUST take
advantage of the candle light walk to the treasury building. We
started at 8:30pm and walked 2km through a narrow rock canyon formed
by underground water erosion. The rock leading up to the canyon is
dotted with caves that were lived in historically by Bedouins. Only a
few caves are currently inhabited, and we did see one man perched up
on a rock face strumming an instrument near a cave entrance and people
singing from somewhere... We think it may have been a cave party.

The walk was supposed to be done single file and in silence with no
mobile phones and no photography, but people don't listen to
instruction or respect others in a group so they chatted away merrily
in many languages. We stopped to let them all pass by, and continued
on our own very near the back of the pack where it was peaceful.

It is impossible to put into words the feeling that you get when
surrounded by so much history and natural beauty, lit by stars and
candle light. It is a surreal and moving experience.

At the end of the canyon we walked into a large opening with the
treasury building on the opposite wall. Rent Indiana Jones to see it,
but even watching the movie you cannot appreciate the magesty of the
building. To see it illuminated by candles (and flash photography) is
something else.

We were treated to mint tea and entertainment. One man played the
flute, another played a different instrument, and Mahmoud told us a

We rembered that Jane had told us of a fantastic guide named Mahmoud
who could read Nebetean (sp?) inscriptions, and we were hoping to hire
him for the afternoon tomorrow. We approached the story teller Mahmoud
to ask him if he knew Jane, or if he could read Nebetean. He seemed
confused, and lacking in English abilities, which we thought the real
Mahmoud would have. He said he might know a Jane in Amman. But he said
she worked at the university. So we are left to wonder if he is the
real Mahmoud or an impersonator.

Upon our return there was a text from Jane saying that she had
contacted Mahmoud this evening and that we can hire him for the
afternoon. So we are left to wait and wonder if we did in fact meet
the real Mahmoud already. We will phone him in the morning to make

We went souvenir shopping and Clare modelled a headscarf. Picture to
Sent from my iPod

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