My wife, Lisa, and I had just toured Israel. We decided that we would regret it if we came all the way to the Middle East without going to Petra, Jordan. It was clearly time to take a trip to The Treasury!
With archaeological evidence that the Nabataeans in Jordan carved out architectural structures from the red colored stone in this area, the Rose City was constructed. It has been described as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage."
The first thing we found out was that travel between Israel and Jordan was not that easy. We got dropped off at the border and had to walk what seemed like a mile, dragging our bags in order to get through customs. Nevertheless, we made it and were picked up by our driver who took us on a 5 hour excursion to Petra in near one hundred degree heat.
Our first stop was Al Khazneh, or The Treasury. We had no trouble recognizing this structure having seen it in the 1989 Harrison Ford movie, "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." This is a mausoleum carved out of a sandstone rock face with Greek-influenced architecture.
From there the adventure really began. We trudged up an ancient flight of stairs that had been restored that would eventually lead to the Jabal Madhbah, or the Mount of the Altar. This was a forty minute ordeal carrying my heavy camera bag in extreme heat on a steep incline. This is where the priest stood and sacrificed animals.
We were nearly at the Altar when we realized we had made a wrong turn and were lost. It was then that we met Saba, a local bedoin selling trinkets on the mountain. No more than 5'2" tall, 110 pounds and barefoot, She lead us to the top where we saw beautiful panoramic views of Petra. She could see I was struggling with the climb. The next thing I knew she grabbed my camera bag with one hand, steadied herself, then pulled me up a rock formation with her free hand. When I was done taking pictures at the top, she escorted us on an alternate route to the bottom of the mountain. At one point we saw her attempting to hide her face. "What's wrong Saba?" I asked. "That's my husband over there." she said. "I'm not supposed to be seen by other men."
To this day I have vivid memories our trip to The Treasury. However, when I think of Petra, the first thing that pops into my mind is Saba, my favorite Jordanian.