November 14th, 2010



(as always, click to enlarge)

When you are climbing a 2000 year old staircase cut from solid rock, it doesn't matter where it leads, or even if it leads to nowhere at all. Thousands of people spent the whole of their short lives transforming these canyons over a span of generations. The amount of labor and the level of expertise needed to carve a perfectly symmetrical 120' columned tomb is unfathomable, and here there are half a dozen such masterpieces of the human spirit and devotion, along with countless smaller but equally impressive tombs.

Ascending the final millenia-old steps to the top of the canyon, we descend again, past a surprisingly brave lizard who obligingly poses for a portrait, and a lone, brilliant yellow flower which has risen out of season to welcome me and my temporary companions. "Welcome" is the word I have heard more than any other in Jordan, and welcome is how I have felt. After greeting the audacious flower with clicking shutters, we move down the slope to a ledge where we dangle our feet over the precipice and watch the sun spend an hour playing across the curves and planes of the Treasury, Petra's most famous structure.

That was only the first half of my day.