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Posts Tagged ‘finding oneself’

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“The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.” ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Another early start saw us on our way to the Cairo airport. Once again Mel and I seemed to attract the security guards and we went through the mandatory luggage check and then the pat down by some fierce looking female guards. No arguments here but my cheeks were sore trying not to smile, I didn’t think they would appreciate it. So, with a great deal of eye rolling from the rest of the group we finally made our way to the check in counter. I was beginning to think that they thought we were doing something to attract this unwanted attention. With bulging suitcases we definitely didn’t want our bags rummaged through every time we went to the airports.

A short flight later we were landing at the Amman airport, Jordan. Our arrival was met by a tour official and we were shepherded to the Amman Marriott Hotel. It was a nice easy day after the hustle and bustle at the end of our Egyptian leg and we made the most of catching up in the Business centre and grabbing a little rest.

Breakfast was bright and early the next day and we met our guide for this part of the trip. He was as different as he possibly could be from our guides in Israel and Egypt. His English was, to say the least, a trial as we strained to understand what he was saying. From his attitude I wondered if he had just wandered into town from the hills. He appeared more at home with the bus driver than his passengers, in fact we appeared to be unwelcome cargo.

Our first stop was at the Roman ruins in Jerash. It was an amazing sight. The Colosseum was almost intact and mock gladiator fights and chariot races were held throughout the day. You simply had to pay extra to see them – after you had paid to get into the site of course. Yet the scope of the ruins was enormous. You could easily visualise an entire city, and walking through the almost immaculate streets you could feel the size of the place. Thus was no small village but a thriving metropolis. Our guide waxed lyrical about the aqueducts in the streets and the sewage system tunnels, still able to operate. The heat was oppressive and there was no shade. People began huddling in the slight shade from the tall columns along the colonnade.

Amazingly there was lush green grass on the hillsides all around. It was a luxuriant emerald green with wildflowers sprinkled throughout. At the top of the nearby hill was a fenced enclosure with towers built along its length. Soldiers carrying weapons could be seen slowly patrolling the perimeter. It was another reminder that we were close to the border and as carefree as the ruins made you feel, real life was a heartbeat away with the torpid heat.

Leaving Jerash before we were all desiccated we retraced our ‘steps’ and headed for Petra, at the other end of Jordan. Why this strange route? We never found out, but a frantic rush ensued to reach Petra by nightfall. Once again we wondered why, until we were closer to our destination and the roads degenerated in quality. We definitely didn’t want to be broken down in the middle of ‘nowhere’. There was a collective sigh of relief as we finally pulled into the Hotel in Wadi Musa. It was time for a quick meal and an early night before the famous Petra Treasury tomorrow.

The next day dawned bright and hot. Sunscreen was applied by the truckload, although we were told it would be different once we reached the entrance to the treasury. Sand puffed up around our feet as we slowly walked across to the walk down to the mountain. Rejecting the pull of an easy donkey ride down we decided to leave that luxury for our exhausted return.  The heat was, for me, oppressive. We walked down the hill towards the Siq, the entrance through the mountain. It did nothing to prepare us for the sights once we entered Siq, the narrow cleft in the mountain.

The mountains seemed to flow like waves, with each rippled wave a different colour. The best times to see the mountains and Treasury are early morning and dusk as the sandstone picks up the sun’s rays and reflects these wonderful colours back at you. The Siq is 1.2km in length, formed by the mountain splitting and there really are only poet’s words to do justice to the magnificent sight, or photos!

Almost at the end of the Siq we could see the impressive Treasury, seen in Indiana Jones. It is a breathtaking sight. It towers over the surroundings and dwarfs mere humans with its presence. Apart from an almost unidentifiable muttering we had no introduction from our guide so we joined the crush of people entering the Treasury. Inside the Treasury, we could see the room built as the tomb of Nabataean King Aretas III.

We learned more from other guides as we wandered around than from our erstwhile goatherd. Yes, he told us he had come down from the country to guide tourists because there was no living to be made in the desert any longer. At least we understood why he was obsessed with the aqueducts! He did point out the lights and aqueducts along each side of the entry passage to the Treasury. The Romans were nothing if not thorough. It was blissfully cool inside the building, almost chilly in some places. The sandstone is so soft that apart from the external parts of the Treasury all the dwellings were carved from the rock.  The Arabic name for the Treasury is Al-Khazneh.

Another hot walk took us around to a lower part of the valley to the more traditional Roman ruins.  To the right of the valley was another smaller mountain, at the top, several caves. A purposeful climb later we stood at the top of the mountain overlooking the whole valley. It was only when we reached halfway to the top that Mel decided to let me know she didn’t like heights. Oops! It was a magnificent sight and balanced precariously on the edge I took some wonderful photos. On the way down we were stopped by several Bedouin girls. After chatting for a few minutes we were invited to have tea with them.

We were told explicitly NOT to go with any Bedouins, but…. Why spoil a good thing? The tea was very hot, very strong and VERY sweet. Of course, as we were sitting there our erstwhile spies walked past and seeing us under the overhang with our Bedouins, rushed off to tell everyone else we were probably being murdered or kidnapped. By this time we could laugh at the absurdity. It was with regret we said our goodbyes, but time was passing and we had to get back to the hotel. Succumbing to the lure of the donkeys, we had a slower trip back than if we had walked.

It had been many years since I had a donkey ride and it felt as though the years had fallen away. At one point I looked over my shoulder to see if Mum and Dad were still watching. It was a strange feeling as I knew, in my heart, that they were indeed watching. They had been watching over me the entire time I was wandering through Petra and I know Dad enjoyed the tea break with the Bedouins, that was his style.

Petra showed me that the present and the past have reflections of each other, if we are aware enough to see them. I had so much wanted my parents to enjoy parts of my trip and at the last moment in Petra they reminded me that they were there with me. After the sadness of losing Mum and Dad I was closer to them than I had been for quite some time. The heavy burden of grief lifted somewhat and I knew that in my heart they would always be with me. My spirit was soaring like the falcon I saw, happy that life follows its circle and allows us to make it complete again, when we are ready.

#In Seaarch of

Author unknown

Blessings, Susan ♥

Next week……. Madaba and Mount Nebo

© Susan Jamieson 2014

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