PETRA – THE LOST CITY
Welcome to Jordan. It was early in the morning and the sun was already high in the sky, lightening the mountains surrounding the enigmatic Pink City built in the first century BC by the Nabataea’s. Let me introduce you … Petra.
I started the walk through the lonely passage named “the Siq”, plunged deep into the solid walls of sandstone rocks. The galloping horses left behind them a cloud of dust and I suddenly felt in another time, like Indiana Jones about to discover a secret treasure: “the Treasury”. Slowly, beckoning through the rock, entirely carved out of sandstone cliff, the famous monument revealed itself. I stood in front of the most photographed icon of Petra and felt so small compared to it.
“Need a taxi? Cheap price!” said a man with a red and white checkered turban in his Arabic accent, pointing at his camel, which was waiting in warm and sunny conditions for his next course.
“La shukran” I answered to be polite.
“Want postcards?” said a young bedouin girl approached me, holding out some old battered postcards.
“I also have good donkeys or horses.” the first man continued to say. But gradually, as the heat rises, your mood is deteriorating and “La” without “shukran” is the only word that comes to your mind.
I continued my exploration.Visited the amphitheater and imagined it filled with crowds of Romans, discovered some secret caves, got lost and found hidden tombs and the countless other wonders Petra has to offer.
The Jordanian people are very kind (despite their insistence for selling), and I enjoyed chatted with the Bedouins. Some of them live in the nearby caves (this is was they said), but are living a contradiction life, a fusion of ancient and modern, which calls into question their authenticity. We met one, “Tofik”. He has an iPhone and wears ray-ban sunglasses, but as the same time, he holds in his hand a wooden stick with a snake shape, offered by his dad. “We born dust, we die dust” he said, banging the stick against the ground.
Further, an old man with tanned skin and kôhl make up hazel eyes was selling some ancient stone, remains, broken vases. I don’t know why but he broke my heart and I wanted to help him with buying one of its article, although I was not interested at all, but just for “make his day”. Actually he totally made mine … When it came time to pay, he told me “I want to offer it to you, it’s my present” and declined my money. Suddenly, this insignificant little piece of stone took a true value, and I will always keep it as a life lesson.
There’s nothing else like Petra. If it’s not on your bucket list already, it really should be. On a quest to find the Treasury of a fabled civilization, buried by sand… I’m pretty sure the lost Petra still has secrets to reveal …