Monday, October 3, 2011

Into the Heart of Petra; Horse with no Name part 2

After our two hour ride on our horses through the highland rocks above the canyon floor of Petra, we started our descent by foot into the valley. We hadn't expected to travel this route, so none of us had worn shoes that would make this decent easier. We climbed down the first path until we reached a plateau where we met a Bedouin woman who offered us some tea. She had a small table and tent where she sold camel bone jewelry and other beautiful trinkets.
We bought some presents, had some tea with her and her cats and then continued on the path until we saw another tent with more jewelry.
Another Bedouin woman showed us her goods and introduced us to her cats and her Donkey named Susan.

She had some donkey milk in a bottle and told us how it healed a local child who couldn't talk. They had seen many doctors, but after a shaman told them to feed the boy donkey milk for six days, the boy began to speak. I think his first words were probably, " Please, no more donkey milk" ;)

We bought some more presents and talked for a while with the woman. She suggested we go up this path to a great view of the valley and a sacrifice site. The path was lined with more Bedouin women who were selling trinkets and they seemed to be strategically placed along the path to the best views;) We got to the top and we were not disappointed with view.

We went back down the path past all the tented tables and when I was saying goodbye to the woman who told us the donkey milk story, she cemented that she really liked my necklace. I took off the polished beaded shells from around my neck and handed it to her. I told her it came from the Solomon islands near Papeau New Guinnea and that they were like wampum beads used for trading. I had gotten them on our last State Dept. tour of South East Asia. In refurn, she gave me a camel bone necklace that she had made and when I put it on, I had yet another reminder of this amazing day and trip to the Middle East. We still had a long way to go and she showed us the path that would lead to the 800 steps that would take us to the valley below.

It took a long time to follow the carved rock stairs down into the floor of the canyon and our legs were getting tired from the climb down as well as the long ride. The rock formations and the colors were beautiful under the late afternoon sun.

As we got closer to the canyon floor, you could start to see the cave dwellings and burial niches carved into the rock. The pictures don't really give you the sense of how big and wide the view is to the human eye. It is so expansive, that it seems surreal. The mind has no reference for anything that big and spacious. It seems like you are looking at a painting or a film. Here there is a sense of wonder, a sense of timelessness and words can only point to the stillness that it creates in you.

We reached the canyon floor and were dwarfed by the rock walls that lined the valley. The colors were changing by the minute, as the sun moved across the sky.

We stayed in the area by the front of the treasury, taking pictures of camels and the carved rock structures. We sat, had some water, talked about the journey so far and how lucky we were to be able to do a trip like this. I feel so blessed to be able to play music around the world for so many people. I am thankful to have made so many new friends.

We gathered our strength and started walking through the narrow walled canyon path back to the town.

On the way we saw some tombs/living spaces carved into the rock. We walked the final mile and at one point we stopped to listen to the beautiful acoustics and sound reflecting off the rocks.

We finally made it back to the car and our wonderful driver Hasan, had set up a nice spread of cheese, bread and vegetables in his trunk.

I can't believe what an incredible adventure we had that day. We are all changed because of that journey through the heart of Petra. There will be more pictures and stories to come about this day, from the other guys.
I feel I understand a little more about Jordan and a lot more about myself.
I hope everyone back home gets a chance to come here some day, it is a wonder indeed and the warmth of the people can't even be eclipsed by the warmth of the beautiful sun in the ever blue sky above Petra:)

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