Get Your Ass Out of My Shop

“So we meet again,” I said to the brown donkey.

Jouma, our Bedouin guide, looked puzzled.

“Your donkey is a good salesman.  He was afraid we would walk past Haroun’s café and started braying.  And now, here we are, your afternoon customers.  Who is this?  Your son?”

Holding two white donkeys was a small boy dressed completely in brown.

“No.  He is part of my tribe.  His name is Maaz.”

“No school today for you young man?” Louise asked.

Jouma spoke on his behalf, “His father doesn’t let him go to school.  I am teaching him how to handle the donkeys.”

With only a halter and reins made of steel, we pulled ourselves onto the saddles. Having had a sneeze attack, I was pleased that the blankets did not smell dusty nor did the donkeys stink. They were well cared for and not too skinny.

Journey to the Monastery Petra Jordan

“Tally ho” we shouted as Jouma and the ten-year old Maaz led our donkeys down the Colonnade in the opposite direction of the tourists flooding towards the Siq’s entrance.  We were in high spirits.  When we passed an acquaintance on the road, I shouted,

“Tell our husbands we are off to live in the Monastery.”

They looked confused as we waved our good-byes.

Once again we came to the boy selling rocks.

“That’s the boy I bought my rock from,” I said.  “I saw his mother tell him to sit by the road and quit playing.”

“He has a bad mother,” Jouma said.  “We have told her many times he cannot sit in the hot sun without a hat.  But she does not listen to us.”

We passed the boy who, unlike my donkey, sat mute and watched his potential customers walk by.

“What is my donkey’s name?”  I asked Jouma.

“It is not a donkey.  He is a mule,” he explained.  “I have been experimenting crossing horses and donkeys.  You ride him like a horse.”

“I used to ride horses but never with a halter.”

Our caravan positions worked out quite naturally.  Jouma led Louise’s donkey.  I rode solo on my mule.  Then Maaz followed leading my friend from LA’s donkey.  Donkeys are not guided like horses.  As they wander to the left, the driver hits their neck with a switch until it veers right.  But along the stairs, switches were not used.

The eight hundred stairs to the Monastery began behind the restaurants.  As we were going up, we dodged people walking down.  Along the trodden path, Bedouin women set up stalls selling trinkets and water.

My back straightened when a Bedouin man called out, “Nice mule.”

“Careful, careful,” his wife scolded as our donkeys weaved between her small tables and poked their nose under the tent coverings.  Jouma ignored her hiss of distaste.

I felt vindicated after a European guy said, “You are smart” as he stepped aside to let us pass.  “There are a lot of steps.  It takes about forty-five minutes.”

His friend, however, grumbled while dodging the donkey pies our steeds laid.

“Sorry,” I called out to him.  It did not take me too long to quit apologizing for my mule.

The Monastery trip was my first donkey ride – excuse me – mule ride.  I felt like an overloaded burden balanced on tiny ballerina hooves.  My mule preferred to either hug the stone cliff, scraping my stirrup along the red rocks, or to tiptoe on the stairs’ edge as I looked down into the canyon floor that fell further and further from sight.

From the beginning, Louise proclaimed she was afraid of heights.  She was determined not to let her fear ground her and kept her gaze fixed away from the edge.

Donkeys are less spooked than horses.  But, my half-horse’s nervousness came out when confronted by the extraordinary: music from a disco-ball decorated cave, flapping tent corners or cursing Irish.

When Louise’s trip-trapping donkey stumbled on the stones, she exploded.

“Jesus, Joseph and Mary!  I can’t look.  I am too frightened.  Don’t leave me, Jouma,” she screamed as she grabbed his shoulder.

“Don’t worry. I will take care of you,” assured Jouma whose whispers soothed sixteen children, two wives, an extra boy, horses, donkeys, camels and terrified tourists.

To be continued….

ABOUT JOUMA THE PETRA BEDOUIN GUIDE

Jouma Petra Bedouin Guide Jordan by Eva the dragon 2013

Jouma Kublan was a man we instantly felt comfortable with.

His mobile is 00 962 7 7753 5425.  You can arrange to meet him at the Petra entrance, or, if you are lucky, arrange to meet him at Haroun’s for a sunset trip to the Monastery.  He charged us each 50JD for our four-hour tour.  His rate matched the rates quoted on Frommer’s.  His donkey were well-cared for, and he is a kind, stable individual.

Charmed by a Bedouin

Petra Panorama behind blue church Jordan by eva the dragon 2013

Our water bottles emptied, we could not take another step.  The empty café next to the Byzantine church welcomed us.

A majlis of red and black cushions surrounded a jewelry case in the center of the room with a full view of the Colonnade.  A young man stood behind the counter.

“Do you have lemon with mint?” I asked pointing to the picture.  He nodded, unable to speak English.

“How about some juice?” I asked my weary friends as they peeled off their hats and camera bags.  Their mouths were so dry, they nodded.

As we lounged on the couches, the proprietor walked between the necklaces houses in glass shelves, lit a cigarette and sat down.

“Salam ah-lay kum,” I said, starting our exchange with peace.

“Ah-lay kum a salam,” he responded appropriately.  “I hope you are having a good day in Petra,” he said in perfect English.

“Yes, it has been wonderful.  Is this your son?” I asked as the young man brought our fresh juices.

“No, he is my friend’s son.  He is from Egypt.  You know how tough things are in Egypt today.  He needed a job so I brought him here to Petra.  He will learn about tourists and learn to speak English.”

“My husband’s family is Egyptian,” I told him.  “We live in Bahrain.”

“Really?” he raised his eyebrows.  “How many wives does he have?” he asked with laughter in his eyes.

“Only me,” I countered.  “That is all he can handle.  What about you?”

“I only have one wife.  She is from Spain and believe me, she is more than enough for me.  I could not handle anymore wives.”  We all giggled.

“You must know Marguerite,” Louise chimed in.  “We just met her along the road.”

“Marguerite used to be the nurse at our clinic in the cave,” he said.  “That was a long time ago when her husband was alive.”

“Do you know which cave she lived in?” Louise asked.  “Is it that one across the way?” She pointed across the canyon above the other side of the Colonnade.

He corrected her finger and pointed out the cave.

“It must have been extraordinary to have lived in a cave.  What a life she must have had.  Cooking over a fire and raising babies there.  Living among the Bedu.  Extraordinary,” Louise said.

“When I was young, we all lived in the caves,” he announced.

“Really?” we exclaimed.

“Have you been to the Monastery?”  We shook our heads no.  “My family, we lived up there.”  He pointed out towards the mountains.

“That is so interesting.”

He smiled.  “We loved living in the mountains.  Now most of the Bedouin live in the village.  Do you like your juice?”

“Yes, very much.”

“The lemons are from my orchard.  I grow oranges too.  Everything you see here is fresh.  Made at home.”  He pointed to the poster over the table filled with Arabic mezza and salads.

“What is your name?” we finally asked.

“Haroun,” he said pronouncing the h softly making it sound like Aaron.

“Aaron,” I asked, “Like the brother of Moses?”

“Yes,” he said, pointing again towards the mountains.  “We could see his tomb from our cave.”

A man wearing jeans parked his donkey in front of the café.  A blond woman climbed off its back.

Haroun shouted out, “Salam!” and got up to greet the man with a hug and many kisses.

“My Uncle Jouma,” he said.  “He is my uncle, but he is younger than me.”

Jouma took off his Ray-Bans and said hello to us in perfect English.

“Jouma means Friday.  You can call me Friday.”

“This is Saturday and my friend, Sunday,” I said.  “You can call me Monday.”

As more men stopped by, Haroun turned his attention to them.  I felt the push of inspiration.  It would be a treat to be guided to the Monastery by someone who lived there.

“Can you show us the Monastery?” I asked Jouma.  “Wouldn’t it be great to go there with him?” I turned to my friends.

Suddenly a great plan was hatched.  Jouma suggested that we go explore the Royal Tombs.  He would meet us there at four o’clock and take us by donkey to the Monastery for the sunset.

Refreshed and excited about our afternoon adventure, after lunch, we gathered our things and said good-bye to the men.

“Please, the juice and the oranges are my gift to you,” said Haroun.  “My orchid sits in valley at the bottom of Mount Hor.  You must come and see it.  I will wait for you there.  My uncle will bring you.”

“Inshallah,” we said.  “We will see you on our way to the Monastery.”

Then I realized, just like Marguerite, the Petra Bedouins had charmed us.  Enchanted, we were ready to follow a man we had just met to his ancestral cave on the mountain.

ABOUT HAROUN AND JOUMA

Haroun’s Café has a terrific view of the Colannaded Street and the Royal Tombs.  The food was good and the atmosphere was much nicer than the crowded restaurants at the end of the Colannade operated by hotels.

Jouma Kublan was a man we instantly felt comfortable with.  His mobile is 00 962 7 7753 5425.  You can arrange to meet him at the Petra entrance, or, if you are lucky, arrange to meet him at Haroun’s for a sunset trip to the Monastery.  He charged us each 50JD for our four-hour tour.  His rate matched the rates quoted on Frommer’s.  His donkeys were well-cared for, and he is a kind, stable individual.

Wanna Buy A Piece of History?

The Colonnade was empty except for the lone toddler selling Petra rocks by the side of the road.  He was actually even dustier than we felt.  I snapped his photo and gave him a JD.  Leaving his plate of rocks, he jumped up and ran towards the bushes behind him, waving his bill, while shouting, “Mama!  Mama!”

Half past noon, we were all hot and needed a break.  But the thought of walking to the end of the Colonnade where the tourist groups filled the tables at the all you can eat buffet restaurants did not sound appealing either.

As we stood next to a pistachio tree, a donkey started braying his lungs out.  His initial call trumpeted his displeasure then became a mournful crescendo about some personal tragedy.

“Either that donkey needs help or he is calling us to go this way.” I suggested to my friends, “Please, let’s go up this trail.  I want to take pictures of Aphrodite’s temple at the top of the hill.”

The place Jordan occupies in both political and spiritual history astounds me.

Blue Church with royal tombs in background petra jordan by eva the dragon 2013 v2

It is thrilling to be able to literally see how our religions evolved and built upon the past.  Only ten-percent of Petra has been excavated; yet marvelous pieces of our collective history present a unique opportunity to learn something about humanity.

  • The Nabataean tombs were constructed during Egypt’s 18th dynasty.  The 18th dynasty included Hatsheput (1479-1458BCE), the longest-reigning, queen/pharaoh, and Akhenaten (1353-1336BCE) who was called the heretic Pharaoh.   Akhenaten and his queen Nefertiti abandoned Egypt’s pantheon of Gods.  Within seventeen years he convinced the entire country that there was only one God.  In ancient Egypt, God was called Aten or Ra.  In modern times, the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb made the dynasty “Born of Thoth” (Thut-mosis) famous.
  • The town surrounding Petra is Wadi Moussa, literally translated as Moses’ valley.  Moses, the Bronze-Age, Jewish patriarch of the mono-theistic religions was estimated to have lived sometime between 1600-1200BCE, during Egypt’s 18th dynasty.  His brother, Aaron, was buried on Mount Hor in Petra.
  • The Nabataeans’ temple dedicated to the God Dushara and Goddess Al-Uzza was built around 30BC.  After the Romans conquered Petra, the temple’s name was changed to Qasr al-Bint al-Pharaun or the Castle of the Pharaoh’s Daughter.
  • Built about 27AD, during the Roman times, the Temple of the Winged Lions (aka Aphrodite’s temple) is dedicated to the Syrian Goddess, Atargatis.  Referred to as the Fish-Goddes, Atargatis gave birth to a demi-goddess then abandoned her.  Desert doves raised the baby until she was found by a royal shepherd.  She became Queen Semirami leading her people to great military victories, founded Babylon and its hanging gardens, created her own religion and made her son king.
  • The Petra Church, aka the Byzantine Church, was built on a Nabataean temple foundation about 530AD.  After being buried in earthquakes, only twenty-years ago, archeologists began excavating the church.  The mosaics depict the ancient symbols incorporated into the new Roman religion, Christianity.  The ancient goddesses of fertility and harvest, spring, summer, fall, doves, fish, and my favorites – rabbits and roosters – paved the path towards the baptismal fountain where the water of life and resurrection was contained.

And under a desert sun, water is life itself.

Married to a Bedouin

Petra streets and tombs jordan by eva the dragon 2013

Leaving the Treasury behind, we followed a young, Jordanian couple.  Wearing city attire, they looked like tourists, not Bedouin.

I assumed they were newly-married since the man could not stop taking pictures of the young woman wearing hijab.  At the amphitheater, we caught up with them.  They asked us to take their photo together, and we did, insisting that they do all sorts of fun poses.

Across the street, I recognized the stall selling Marguerite’s book,  Married to a Bedouin.  A little higher than the road, it sat next to the WCs carved out of the red cliff.

Marguerite lived in Petra with her husband, Mohammed Abdallah Othman for twenty-four years.  After his death in 2002, she returned to Sydney where her family lived.  At the end of her book, she wrote,

I might go back and see if I can find a Petra I can live in without Mohammed…..Without Mohammed to hold me I am no longer married to a Bedouin and, despite all the things we have accumulated, I have become a nomad once again.

I pointed out the stall.  There, dressed in western clothes, was Marguerite!

We rushed towards her, gushing.

“We met you in Dubai.”

“We loved your presentation.”

“I’ve been reading your book.”

“What are you doing here?  Where are your children?”

“Where was your cave?”

When Marguerite smiled her gold tooth, a present from her father-in-law, gleamed.

Time healed her broken heart, and, once again, she found herself living with the Bdouls near Petra.  Her children were grown with families of their own.  No longer a nurse, she was a published author and “doing something fun” – creating jewelry.  Inspired by the Nabataen carvings, local women smithed the silver jewelry.  The Amarat Jewelry Workshop helped support eleven families.

As much as we wanted to talk, Marguerite was busy.  She only had seconds to entice the dusty, hot tourists walking by to either purchase a book or some earrings.  As we stood there, a Mexican, then a Greek tour group huddled around her stall as she said a few words to them in their own language.

Happy to support a fellow adventurer, mother and writer, I purchased a charm – the out-lawed goddess, al-Uzza.

al uzza by amarat jewelry

Al-Uzza, “The Powerful One”, was part of the original, Arabian goddess triade.  Some archaeologists say she was the Nabataen equivalent to Aphrodite, but, according to Barbara Walker, she  was older than that.   Marguerite strung my Uzza on a black, braided cord.

When you go to Petra you will find either Marguerite or her handsome son tending the shop.  Like the other vendors, at night, they shuttered their stand and, guarded by The Powerful One, everything stays where they left it.

To be continued….

Plundering the Treasury

petra jordan siq entrance eva the dragon 2013 v2

Voices rumbled against the Siq’s walls.  Braying donkeys echoed through the canyon.  Camels honked and the din grew louder.

“What is going on?” Louise asked.

“We’re almost there.  Keep going.  Around the corner.”

Breaking into the sunlight, we found ourselves in a market square directly in front of the Treasury.

tourists around treasury at petra by eva the dragon 2013

Petra continues to be a thriving city.

Coffee shops and gift stalls surrounded small herds of donkeys and camels waiting to transport the weary.  Children and women peddled jewelry, scarves and souvenirs made in China.  Dirty boys walked around selling postcards.  Young men showcased their horse riding and rock climbing skills for the young women.  Even in its ruined state, the Treasury is magnificent and lively.  I easily imagined the Romans, Arabs, Egyptians and other foreigners converging and trading both goods and stories.

We snapped photos and enjoyed the scene.  However, it would have been nice to have a little distance from the hundreds of “other” tourists snapping photos.

Our plan was to be in Petra for the Wednesday night, candlelight tour to the Treasury.  When we inquired about the tour, the man behind the ticket counter told us, “It has been cancelled.”

“Why?  That is why we came today!  We are so disappointed.”

“I am sorry.  There has been trouble,” he informed us, giving us a look “if you only knew”.

Hmmm.  The Bedouin run Petra.  If there was “trouble”, it meant they were crossed.

Still, we were happy. It was a beautiful day.  There was a lot more to explore.

I sipped tea as Louise interrogated the security guards about the whereabouts of the elusive Marguerite.

To be continued…..

Follow the Brick Road to the Rose City

Starting at the Petra Visitor Center, Louise began asking me, “Is her shop here?”

The woman she was looking for was Marguerite van Geldermalsen.

married to a Bedouin

Louise was fascinated by Marguerite, a New Zealander who married Mohammed Othman, a Bedouin souvenir-seller from Petra.  She met him while on holiday.  After a whirlwind courtship, she moved into his cave where they lived for many years.  We met Marguerite in 2010 at the Dubai Literary Festival where she gave a talk on her memoir “Married to a Bedouin”.

During my previous visit to Petra I saw a stall selling her book.  But I did not think she lived there anymore.

“Do you see Marguerite’s stand?” Louise asked me for the second time as we entered the Siq.

“No, not yet.  We haven’t even entered the city yet.”

To most Westerners, Petra is the rose-colored Treasury featured in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Every year thousands wander through the six-foot wide Siq to glimpse Petra’s most famous landmark.

To the two-thousand, local Bedouin, Petra is – or was – their home.  They literally lived in the caves the Nabataeans carved out of the sandstone over three thousand years ago.

Lived that was, until the 1980s when the Jordanian government declared Petra to be a national landmark.  In the nearby village, Umm Sayhoon, cement block apartments were built to move the cave-dwelling people out the “caves” and off the colonnade streets.  Today some caves are occupied by the poorest families while others have padlocked doors.

“I can just see Burckhardt riding his donkey through here hoping to find the lost city,” Louise mumbled as she imagined herself dressed as a Muslim holy man.  A travel writer she did her research before our trip.  Not only was she intrigued by TE Lawrence and Marguerite, but the Swiss-born, Jean Louis Burckhardt’s account of “discovering” Petra in 1812 had captured her interest.

siq sign petra jordan

Burckhardt kept his discovery of the Rose-red City secret because he was afraid Petra would be spoiled.  His journals were released after his death in 1817, and that was when the Victorian travelers, poets and archaeologists, including the famed painter, David Roberts, flocked to Petra.

Walking through the Siq, a giant rock split apart by a tremendous earthquake, is to be transported back in time.  It is easy to imagine how impressed a desert traveler entering Petra would have been when they passed the channeled water ducts, the many shrines and the immense stone carvings of camel caravans.

As we studied the camel caravan, our American mates from the Mohammed Mutlak camp saw us and stopped to say hello.  They were in such a hurry to hike to the Monastery, had we not been there, they would have walked past the life-size, stone mural.

As we gazed at the ancient signposts, even the school children passed us.

“You want a ride.  It is included in your ticket,” the young horsemen asked us over and over.  They must have assumed we were tired since we walked so slow.

“No, thanks,” we shouted back.  “We’re allergic to horses.”

“Where are you from?”

“Bahrain,” we told them, but they did not believe us.

Without a horse and taking photos, our kilometer and a half walk took about two hours.

All along the way, Louise kept stopping the Bedouins to ask, “When Marguerite?”

To be continued……

ABOUT PETRA VISITOR CENTER

The Visitor Center has been revamped since my last trip in 2009.  The entrance is right outside the Movenpik Hotel.  Taxis congregate at the entrance.  Leaving the hotel, they asked if we needed a taxi. I was wondering where they would have taken us.

Entrance fees have doubled since 2009.  They are posted on the Petra National Trust website.  In 2013, it was for 50JD/day for one day, 55JD for 2 days and 60JD for three days.  If you did not arrive via the airport and pay for a visa, your entrance fee will include a 40JD addition.  Technically, at sunset Petra closes.

In 2009, we hired a guide who spoke perfect English and who happened to be a Petra archeologist.  Unfortunately I forgot his name but I learned so much from him.  Because of my experience, we did not hire a guide from the Visitor Center but there are many available who speak multiple languages.  I linked to Frommer’s website as I agree with what is written there.  We did not hire a horse drawn carriage, but the men told us it is included in the ticket price – perhaps that is why they tickets prices have increased.  However, if you take a horse down to the Treasury you miss exploring sites along the way.

Jordan – The Holy Land Museum

view of holy land from mount nebo jordan by Eva the dragon

“If you put a fence around Jordan, it would be the world’s largest museum,” the archaeologist told me.

Most Westerners visit the Holy Land by flying into Israel to see Jerusalem and, perhaps, Bethlehem.  Jerusalem is important, and Bethlehem is central for the Christians, but if you want to travel the Old Testament, then Jordan is the place to go.

national geographic human migration-990_32314_600x450

According to National Geographic’s Genographic Study, about 50,000 years ago, a large “second” migration out of Africa occurred. These became the first, large settlements in the Fertile Crescent.

Biblical map of Jordan king's highway petra

Modern Jordan is smack dab in the middle of recorded, human history.  Jericho, located on the other side of the Jordan River in occupied Palestine, is considered to be the oldest city on Earth.  But the ancient Nabataean city of Petra, inhabited by Bdouls, has been dated to the same era – 9000 BC.

From 9000 BC onward, Jordan houses remains from every era.

Copper Age (4500-3000 BC)

  • Copper mines are found at the Dana Reserve.

Bronze Age (3300-1200 BC)

  • Egypt’s influence is noted in pottery and jewelry.
  • Canaanites in the Jordan Valley were first mentioned in Genesis 9:22 when Noah cursed his son Ham, the father of Canaan.
  • Abram and his brother Lot, Genesis 11:21, split up.  In Genesis 13:10, Lot choose to move to Jordan to live among the wicked Sodomites.
  • 2300 BC Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed.  Lot and his daughters found a cave to live.  The cave is along the Dead Sea Highway (Highway 65), a bit south of the Dead Sea.

Iron Age (1200-330 BC)

  • Starting with Numbers 21:31, the Old Testament included stories about the three kingdoms of the dreaded poly-theists: the Edomites in the south, the Moabites and the Ammonites.  They occupied the eastern desert of Jordan.
  • These Old Testament tribes occupied Umm Al-Rasas, Theban, Ma’in and Arnon in Jordan.
  • It was the Edomites who blocked Moses and the Israelites.  To get north, they resorted to the mountains along a road which for millennia has been called the King’s Highway.  You can still drive the King’s Highway today.
  • When Moses finally made it north, Deutoromony 34:1 says Moses went to Mount Nebo in Jordan where God showed him the Promised Land.  At the foot of Mount Nebo is Moses’ spring where he is reputed to have opened a rock for his people.

850 BC Israelite Empire was defeated by the Moab king named Mesha.

  • Numbers 32:38 talks about King Mesha who lived in Ma’in, Jordan.
  • The Moabites worshiped Baal Maon which means God of Water and Asherah whom the ancient Sumerians called the Great Goddess.

333 BC Alexander the Great stormed through northern Jordan which became part of the largest empire ever seen.  After his death, Ptolemy I became the ruler and Greek became the common language.

  • During the time of Jesus the Christ, southern Jordan was controlled by the Nabataeans from their capital in Petra.
  • On top of Machaerus, aka Mukawir, is Herod Antipas’ castle.  Here is where Herod imprisoned then beheaded John the Baptist as Salome requested.
  • The Greek Orthodox Church in Madaba has a 6th century map depicting the entire Holy Land.
  • St. John the Baptist Church in Madaba is dedicated to Saint John and a running well dated to the Moabite era.

64 BC Rome conquered Syria.  The Romans began looking south towards the Nabataean capital, Petra, and its wealthy trade routes.

  • 106AD Emperor Trajan finally annexed the Nabataeans and renamed the province Arabia Petraea making Petra its capital.
  • The Roman city of Jerash, north of Amman, is the best preserved Roman city in the world – better even than Rome.

324 AD Byzantine Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official faith of the Roman Empire.

  • At Bethany on the Jordan, a church has been excavated marking the place where Jesus was baptized.
  • Old temples were transformed into Byzantine churches.  These original churches can be seen in Madaba, Umm ar-Rasas and Petra.

632 AD Prophet Mohammed’s death.  His followers began expanding north out of the Arabian desert.

  • 629 AD Islamists lost first battle against Byzantine army near Karak castle.
  • 636 AD Islamists won Battle of Yarmouk.  638 Jerusalem fell. 640 Syria was taken.  Islam became the dominate religion and Arabic replaced Greek as lingua franca.

661-750 AD Umayyad Dynasty.  During this time the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem were built.

  • Desert castles were built in Jordan: Qasayr Amra in 711AD and Qasr Kharana 710 AD.

700 AD the Holy Wars between the Christian and Islamic armies started. 1099 Christians took Jerusalem. 1187 Islamists took Jerusalem. 1517 Ottoman Turks took Jerusalem.

  • In Jordan, you can see the Qala’at ar-Rabad at Ajlun and the Crusader Castles at Karak, Petra and on the Pharaoh’s Island offshore of Aqaba.

WWI the Ottoman Turks and Germans fought against the Egyptian-based British in Jordan’s southern desert.

  • The Hejaz railway bombed by TE Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia, and the Arab Revolt is still in existence.
  • In Wadi Rum’s desert, there is a house and a spring both attributed to “Lawrence”.
  • Further south, Lawrence stayed at both the Aqaba Fort and the Azraq Fort.

There was no way we could cover all of Jordan in five days and enjoy the trip.

the monastery by david roberts petra jordan

Instead we focused on the romance of TE Lawrence’s Arabia in Wadi Rum, the Rose-colored city Petra that David Roberts painted, and the easy to reach, high-points in Christian history – Mount Nebo, Bethany by the Jordan, the Dead Sea and Madaba.

ABOUT BOOKS ON JORDAN

Lonely Planet’s Jordan is the book I rely on and carry with me.

My friend Louise also found Jordan: Past and Present published by Vision Roma in Petra.  This is a super fun book which helps you envision the old ruins as they looked in the past.

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