The first major (and arguably the biggest) trip that CIEE took us on this semester was a trip to Petra. Petra, one of the 7 world wonders, is a historical and obviously archaeological city in the south of Jordan. Petra, also known as the Rose City due to the color of the stone of which it is carved, is famous for its rock architecture and water conduit system. Estimates date its formation as early as 312 B.C.E. Petra is easily Jordan’s most visited tourist attraction, however surprisingly the site remained unknown to the Western World until 1812, when Johann Ludwig Burckhardt –a Swiss explorer- found and introduced it. UNESCO has described Petra as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage”. Petra was also chosen by the Smithsonian Magazine as one of the “28 Places to See Before You Die”. However this whole introduction still doesn’t give Petra the justice it deserves.
But Petra wasn’t our first stop on the trip.We drove down on Thursday morning, and spent the day with the Bedouin in Wadi Rum. Bedouin are dessert-dwelling Arabian ethnic groups that are divided into clans and tribes. The Bedouin make up somewhere between 33-40% of the population in Jordan. Wadi Rum, also known as “The Valley of the Moon”, is the largest “wadi” or valley in all of Jordan. Wadi Rum has been inhabited by humans since prehistoric times. In western societies, Wadi Rum is best known when British Officer T.E. Lawrence passed through it several times during the Arab Revolt of 1917-1918.
My very good friend Jordan and I. Bolting.
Me, Nick, Brett, and Nicolo. Brett and Nicolo go to Georgetown University in Washington D.C. Nicolo is actually Italian, straight out of Italy and very liberal, and Brett is a hardcore Republican. Although they are great friends and have been for a long time, they get into some heated arguments. Nick, Nicolo, and I go watch soccer all the time together.
Olivia! One of my closest friends, she's from Colorado and goes to school at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Kerri's another one of my good friends. She's from New Hampshire and goes to school at the University of New Hampshire.
From left to right:Assad, Jordan, Malik, me, Nick, and Mohammad. Assad, Malik, and Mohammad all go to USC and are all solid guys. Mohammad and Malik are twins us three talk about music all the time. They're all good guys.
When we got to Wadi Rum, the first thing we did was go on an hour and half long camel ride. I HAD BEEN WAITING FOR THIS MOMENT FOR SO LONG. My younger sister, before I left the states, told me that the number one most important thing I had to do Jordan was ride a camel. So here ya go Lina:
The camel ride ended at the bottom of this small mountain, which we climbed and saw ancient calligraphy.
It's crazy to think these carvings have been in these rocks at this exact spot for who-knows how many years.
After the camel ride, we took jeeps out further into the desert to watch the sunset, then came back to camp to have dinner, drink tea, and dance to live music till 4am.
My roommate for the semester is on the bottom right in this picture (the only one smiling)
LAUREN! She goes to school with me at CMC!
Eric! He was my roommate for the first 3 days of the program, when we stayed in a hotel
A couple friends and I decided that we'd rather
sleep outside in the moonlight than in our tents, so we did.
Then we woke up 2 hours later to watch the sunrise, and finally go to Petra.
Notice how much the sun rose in 1 minute (see time stamps)
Petra was stunning. Absolutely stunning. You enter the doors of the old city, and walk down a long windy path, admiring the of the archaeology, and after a good two hours you get to the heart of the old city. The old city consists of what supposedly was the houses of the people who lived in Petra, a Colosseum, as well as the iconic treasury, which is the building you see whenever you look at pictures of Petra.
Look it looks like an elephant!
I SEE THE TREASURY
My roommate Alex!
LETS GO STAGS!!!
Nick, me, Nicolo
The Malik Bro's and I
Homes for people way-back-when.
Probably the least extravagant Colosseum I have ever seen. It's just so downplayed, since Petra may be the one city in the world where a Colosseum is NOT one of the main attractions.
At this point, we stopped to get lunch. ...well most of us did. Me and a couple others didn't have time for lunch. See at Petra, there are 3 major stops that people go to see: The downtown, the unfinished Monastery, and the Temple of High Sacrifice. Keeping in mind that Petra closes at 4pm, it is generally accepted that although seeing both the downtown as well as the unfinished Monastery is relatively manageable, seeing all three monuments is near-impossible in 1 day. The Monastery and the Temple are in completely opposite directions. The Monastery is up 1000 (973 to be exact. that's the generally accepted number) stairs, and the Temple sits on top of the tallest mountain in all of Petra. So you see where I'm going with this? A challenge of physical strength and agility, as well as manlyness? There's no way I could have not tried the challenge. It was actually the recent CIEE graduate who now works for CIEE's idea to attempt both, and although all the other CIEE advisers said we were crazy, around 1 pm, me and James (the young CIEE adviser) sprinted up the 1000 stairs to try to prove that the impossible was possible.
The road to the Monastery:
James and I at the Monastery
Some of the CIEE guys who didn't stop for food either. They didn't do the Temple with us though.
Eric, me, Austin, Aiden
The road to the Temple of High Sacrifice:
So little did we know, we accidentally stumbled into an ancient graveyard on the way up the mountain:
THE TEMPLE OF HIGH SACRIFICE:
James me and Alex at the top of the mountain where the Temple is.
^the point of sacrifice
Long story short, we made it, with about 5 minutes to spare. In those 5 minutes I bought some souvenirs, and James and I made it back to the bus as it they were revving to leave the parking lot.
I love Petra. I would go again in a heartbeat. Hopefully I will.... And I HIGHLY encourage you all to visit someday.