Saturday, January 21, 2012

Joe Sathe

January 20
There was not blog entry yesterday since it was a free day and there was little to report on. However, I will tell you that many of us took this day off to recover and relax (and do laundry). Some of the other activities were; swimming, windsailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and tanning.

Today we went to The Hashemi
te Kingdom of Jordan. The adventure began early in the morning when we drove from our Hostel to the Jordan border crossing which was a 10-minute drive. When we got into Jordan we met our new guide for the day. The drive to Petra was supposed to be two hours but ended up being longer due to the weather…it was snowing. However we had no problems and arrived safely at the site. The historic site is controlled by the United Nations organization UNESCO and has been since 1985. Prior to 1985 the valley that contains the ancient city of Petra was open and many nomads lived in the hundreds of caves that used to be tombs. The free access to the site also led to the looting of almost all of the treasures that were within the structures and therefore it is very difficult to find out a lot about this place. For instance, there are bullet holes on the face of the most famous structure (the stone fa├žade that is featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Transformers 2) where people had tried to dislodge parts of sculpture to sell them. However, Petra may be one of the most fantastic and awe-inspiring places that I personally have been to. The sheer size of the place is impressive and the structures in the stone are massive and 80% of the city has not been excavated. I will not say more so that your “correspondent” on the trip can inform you about their unique experience later.
We then had lunch at a hotel in modern Petra where I was told I need to note the delicious Mushroom Soup and a desert known as “Mother of Ali” (which was similar to a hot bread pudding).
On the way home everyone was so exhausted from the walking (two hours down and back in the valley that leads to Petra) that we slept on the bus, then we crossed back into Israel and are now safely back at the Hostel.

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