|Ibis Hotel Amman|
We started right on business the very next day we set foot in Jordan. Petra was on schedule. The bus was in motion 7:30am sharp. The typical tour bus scenario then began. Rahid started introducing the ins and outs of Jordan as we move along its very rich, fertile soil.
If mango trees appear ubiquitously along Philippine roads, Olive trees apparently is Jordan’s counterpart. No wonder they munch on olives in this side of the world. I never liked it. Just to give it the benefit of the doubt, I tried again as I was offered by a friend who brought some for nibbling at work. Didn’t change my feelings (or senses) for it.
Houses and buildings in Jordan are built on limestone. Not only is it abundant in the country, they use it for practical reasons also. Limestone warms the inside of the house when it’s cold outside, and cools it when the weather is sizzling. The most interesting part though is that they are not allowed by law to paint their houses because it will alter limestone’s thermoregulating effect on houses. They are not allowed to build houses higher than 4 storeys as well.
There are a lot of freebies in Jordan– one is education; two is hospitalization. So you can be as smart and as healthy in this country as you will! Neighboring countries come here for cheaper health care, while Jordanians go out of the country, being all highly educated, to find employment where opportunities are better for them.
The above was basically the summary of what I learned from Rahid in the 2-hour desert drive to Petra.
In the middle of the trip, our tour guide decided it’s best to stretch our legs and relax our urinary sphincter muscles. We hopped off the bus and invaded this souvenir shop.
^After a while I got bored inside. I was never one who kids herself into liking souvenir/ “pasalubong” shopping. Since the day I got financially educated, I learned that it’s not imperative to bring something for people back home if you do not have the “extra” money to do so. The thought counts, but if you have nothing to count in your wallet, think again.
|Before and after the biological emergency|
After I found that there was nothing inside that interests me enough to spend more time deciding to buy, I went out. Besides I wasn’t in the most comfortable mood since I had a stain on my pants to worry about. Look how I had to transform my outfit to cover up the biological emergency. Thanks to the trustee shawl! The added accent actually made the outfit better (photo above).
|What happened then. From shy to “yes, take our picture!”|
The Experience I
So while observing the scenery outside or the absence of it, there were two local boys who were again intrigued in how I look like. They were actually taking a picture of me with their phone cameras from afar. I was excited for them to come nearer because it would be a quick sort of immersion with the locals, an outright sociology. I asked if I could take a picture of them, one of them was game, while the other one was shy until I got them to pose together. They were giddy, very curious, very hospitable as well. They kept saying welcome and enjoy. The seeming “tambay” in red look promising, don’t you think?
We had another stop over minutes before we reached Petra just to have a bird’s eye view of where were headed, add a bit of perspective to it.
I thought I miss my botany nomenclaturing days in college.
|Local street teapot|
The boys decided to be unified Arab men for a day brought about by the need to protect their heads from the heat of the sun. All laughter for this entire photo-op.
This was the tour group ahead of us, and there were several that day. We bumped into a lot of tour groups, most of them white–majority Europeans judging by the incomprehensible conversations I get to eavesdrop in, picking up only an identifying word or two. There were other Asians too from Korea, Japan, and India at that time.
We were hikers packed with food and water, some of them with all varieties of camera hanging in their necks.I just got amazed how they managed to operate which depending on what’s needed.
This askal (stray dog) was following us through the length of the hike. It was just amazing how out of the many groups, the dog chose to accompany us. We were mutually endeared!
There were benches that were so artsy-pretty I wanna take them home for display. Those were positioned strategically along the stretch, very tourist-friendly I must say.
This was how amazed I was, I sat for a picture! (I really have a thing for something rough, manly, and random)
Along the way, I met awesome people whose energies can replenish a battalion, just the kind of people I want to surround myself with. It was laughter and time-forgetting conversations that carried us through.
This is the spectacular peaking Treasury view that made us sigh in relief! We finally got somewhere! This is the climax and everything after this meant the end of the seeming endless walk. More than that, what a sight to behold!
Look who’s captured with dropped jaws? That was amazement caught on cam.
Kneeling down in an effort to capture the entire height of the Treasury (in the shade haha).
After a (very) long walk, we decided to take a break, rest, eat, hydrate, while taking (a lot of ) pictures in between.
*Tip! Pack thirst-quenching drinks, energy bars/ chocolate/ hard candy, and wear the most comfortable walking shoes, and hat. PACK LIGHT!
Then off we go again. We all thought that the Treasury was the end goal in sight, from there we will be walking back. Only to realize, we were to walk further, see more, and walk back, to which my mom said, only if she knew that it wasn’t the way back, she would have stayed in the Treasury and wait for us! (haha this walking thing isn’t really her thing.)
Because the dog was really walking so far with us already, almost acting like our guide or protector, some of us decided to give him something of a token.
Just some friendly co-tourist trying to share experiences with utmost enthusiasm, hand gesture-wise. : ]
The local boy who, like the dog, almost followed us wherever we go.We were pre-warned not to buy from peddlers here who usually overcharge the tourists. We were obedient so we tried to ignore all of them including the little boy. But he persisted and eventually gave out his postcards and our hearts softened, we gave him coins.
Dramatic guards on horses like some movie scene! (and more they loved the attention! see the smile!)
|Shoe sole prints on the sand|
|Our tour group.|
A group of people who didn’t know each other but ended the trip inviting
each other to their houses for dinner. Friendships were definitely
This has become an inside joke. We were all pointing our digicams, DSLRs, videocams, but father pointed his ipad. Somebody boasted bringing his flat screen for a bigger screen. Imagine that scene when people start shooting with 32″ lcd viewing screens! : ]]
|A Marriage Ritual Stone “Hub”|
This is an ancient spot for marriage rituals. Since the postcard boy kept tagging along, we made him stand in the middle of the couple and be their son! : ]
We were walking back, with not much picture-taking energy left, almost only looking at the floor, we saw this piece of horseshoe. I didn’t only take a photo, I took it home! Mom said it’s a lucky horseshoe. Who gets to pick up a fallen horseshoe in Petra in her lifetime? She said just like a lucky coin, we must take it and bring the luck with us. I wanted to make it a necklace. : ]
The Experience II
Going back from Petra, we stopped over in yet another humungous souvenir shop, a size of a department store. The aim was really to stretch and rest, along with our tour guide bringing business to their local store through the enthusiastic buyers like this group of tourists. All I wanted to do was take care of my “trip-challenging period” and fix the mess it has created. Thank God for bedet and the numerous cubicles in the women’s lounge I didn’t have to worry taking so long inside washing my pants!
I went out to the bus parking lot after to bask myself in the sun and dry my behind, walking against the gush of the wind while trying not to look stupid standing alone in the open area.
As soon as it was acceptably dry, I went in to somehow see what the shop has to offer. Looking around I noticed one of the sales guy, who looking back also tried to accommodate me while I was so preoccupied with stain, ghost-following me wherever souvenir stand I go. Thankfully I found my mom and she was looking for a guy to ask, he immediately offered himself.
Mom decided to buy and I half-kidded the guy to give us a bonus item for buying too much. He laughed and immediately after about 3 seconds he said, “okay!” Surprised, I started looking for a mini item while asking if he was serious. I found 3 and to engage him fully I asked which among the 3 he preferred for me. He took away one and led me further to another stand and showed me something else. It was a bracelet stand. He put the bracelet on me while explaining what it’s made of on top of the two turquoise keychain and pendant I was holding already.
I kept asking if he was serious giving all of what I’m holding. He wasn’t minding my inquiries like he was in some kind of a trance, leading me to another area, this time to bandanas, the one they roll on their heads, and started putting one on me saying it was how their Bedouins women look like.
I was starting to panic because the bus will leave anytime soon, mom keeps calling my name. I repeatedly thanked him for the items and told him I have to catch the bus. I learned he owned the store.
|Freebies from the guy in the souvenir store, all wrapped|
Then now I say, that must be the first luck the lucky horseshoe has brought me. What a random, lucky thing to happen– a jewelry gift from a total stranger who I will never see again. Or maybe, that was God’s way of balancing the irritation from the challenging period I was having that afternoon. Either way, it was all good vibes thereon. My period can never spoil a trip. I will never let it!
To avoid whatever mythical gayuma whisked on those jewelries, I think I’d want to “pay it forward” or give the lucky freebies away! Who wants? haha
For my historical and picturesque snapshots of Petra, and other what-to-know, good to know facts and insider notes, click here.