Friday, October 20, 2017

Touring Middle East 2: Petra By Night

We arrived at the town of Petra in the southern part of Jordan right before sunset after a 3-hour bus ride through the King’s Highway (an ancient road even mentioned in Numbers 21:22). While our official itinerary of Petra wouldn’t start until the next day, some of us decided to join the Petra By Night show after dinner at our hotel. Well, we have seen Petra in numerous photos and documentaries before (plus of course, the Indiana Jones movie which was shot there) but this is one of those places you just have to visit by yourselves to experience. If you haven't put this in your bucket list, you should.

Our hotel was located right at the door of the Petra archaeological site, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered one of the new seven wonders of the world, so it’s easy for us to get there. But turned out the walking over to the main entrance was only the beginning of the long and gruesome walk through the siq (the narrow walkway through the valley and carved rock) in the dark, lit only with tiny candles along on the ground.

The walk was challenging – given the long flight, whole day of sightseeing and the long bus ride all happened within the 24 hours before – but the sight was rewarding. Walking through the candlelit rocky path with the magnificent landscape as the backdrop was magical and memorable, and at the destination of The Treasury, hundreds of candles were lit on the ground in front, turning the famous façade – best known in the final scene of the Indiana Jones movie - into mystic red color.

The show itself was a bit anti-dramatic to be honest – just a Bedouin flautist was performing the traditional music (with loud background noise of tourists and camera shutters) while we sat down and enjoyed a cup of local tea. Then at the end of the show, colorful spotlights were beamed onto the façade for people to take pictures with some illumination - nonetheless it's next to impossible to take any good pictures with so many people and such dim lighting without a tripod. But the tranquil walk through the historical site through the full moonlight made it all worthwhile. We were shattered by the time we returned to our hotel late at night, but I probably would have done it again next time, in retrospect.

Petra by Night:

(Touring Middle East - Part 2)

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