Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 4 - "Wow!"

There is no better way to describe Petra. Truly the site lives up to its name and title of being one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

The day began with a short journey from Eilat, Israel into Jordan. Jordan is an Arab nation, 90% Muslim. Though not the best of friends, they are peaceful with Israel. I enjoyed the whole experience of traveling into an Arab country much more that I thought. I was fascinated by the towns and the culture, though I must say the border crossing was a bit intense.
The whole day began at 7:30 on the bus and ended 13 hours later, 10 of which were spent crossing the border (just kidding). However, the border crossing did take a very long time…the lines were very long.
Interesting sites along the way. You don’t see a lot of ducks standing on cars in Puyallup. Could be some sort of new type of hood ornaments or something. The terrain is unlike any other but reminded me a lot of Nevada and parts of Arizona. You could definitely tell that you weren’t in Israel anymore.
Literally, everywhere you turn there are pictures of the King. Here is a picture of King Hussein (on the left) who was a very popular king throughout the world. He worked tirelessly and continuously throughout his life to advance the cause of peace between Jordan and Israel which he successfully achieved in 1994. He died of cancer in 1999, his son Abdullah (on the right) succeeded his father as current king of Jordan. According to our guide he and the queen are very well liked and following in the footsteps of his father.

The walk into Petra is spectacular. The colors are amazing and you see various carvings in the rocks, many of which are tombs.
Like many of the sites in Israel, you are so overwhelmed at what you are seeing that you can’t begin to describe it. Many of you have seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. They filmed one particular scene at what it known at the Treasury in Petra. As we traveled two and a half miles down the narrow canyon lined path my heart began to anticipate what we were about to see…though could not fully grasp what lay ahead.
What you are seeing in this picture of the treasury, is only two of the three stories. There is a third story buried beneath some 40 feet of sand. The entire face was carved out of the sandstone by artisans who would hang from ropes as they carved. They estimate that it took between 30-40 years to carve. It was carved in the 1st century BC as a tomb for an important Nabataean king.
All along the way there are little children selling rocks and postcards and jewelry. You have to be very careful to not engage them too much, otherwise…as many found out, you will have a tough time shaking them. They are very persistent. These are Bedouins and there are camels and donkeys everywhere offering rides.
Thinking that this is it…you continue down the road to see numerous other tombs. Everywhere you turn there are more and at one point you see the face of a massive rock wall covered with tombs in the rock. I didn’t even realize this was there until I happen to look back and couldn’t grasp what I was seeing. The size of these carvings are enormous. It is believed that at one time as many as 20,000 people lived in Petra.
After walking approximately four miles, we stopped at a restaurant located in a beautiful setting. After eating a late lunch we started the trek back. There is only one way in and the same way out of Petra. It was easy to refuse the camel and carriage rides heading into Petra, but more and more people were taking advantage of them coming out of Petra. One of those was Sue. I took this as she was whisking by. She wasn’t sure what was worse at the end, walking or being bounced around on the bumpy rocks coming out.
Needless to say, there were a lot of people sleeping on the way back to Eilat…I was one of them. One of the many blessings of the trip to Eilat was sitting next to Candy Barton. She was a delightful elderly lady. I could help but think of my mother (who is 83) as Candy sat next to me, wondering how my mom would do on this trip. I know that she would love to have been able to come in her lifetime. I found out that Candy was 92 years old, 93 in June. She was quite the trooper!
Well, tomorrow we are headed back to Tel Aviv. Sorry for the delay in getting these posts out. Continuing to have internet problems, but will eventually get them all posted. Thanks for taking the time to read.



Lee Britt said...

I really miss Israel, I can't believe that you didn't invite me. I hope that your trip is going well and that you have many opportunities to share and help. We need to get together when you get back.

God Bless

Lee Britt

Melissa said...

Pastor Ron-
Sounds like a wonderful few days! I didn't know Pastor Chuck was going to be there at this time; what a treat! (to say the least!) Keep posting; it's so exciting to read about all you're doing! God bless you guys!

Acjohnson said...

Wow great pictures. Now I have the Indiana Jones theme song playing in my head ha ha ha. Looks like you are having a wonderful time I love reading your blogs to see how things are going. God bless.