November 15th, 2010


Petra, day three. Jumping children, dying goats.

click to enlarge

Turned right at the entrance to the Siq today, instead of heading down to the Treasury. I wandered among the small tombs scattered in the sandstone to a spot overlooking the twists and turns of the "official" entry to Petra.

Ambling back down, I met up with a guy from Seattle, and together we followed the smaller siq, or slot canyon, that flows to the city center. Stopping often to marvel at the shapes and colors which rival anything Utah has to offer, and once to have a cup of sweet tea with a Bedouin man who patiently waits for the five or ten adventurers who daily venture off the programmed schedule to see this place of quiet elegance, we wound our way down to the end of the siq, which was decorated with dozens of niches and small carvings, and then out to a group of tombs often called the Christian or Byzantine tombs because of the crosses found carved on their walls.

There we encountered the little rascal pictured above playing with his two brothers and one sister, jumping from the rocks into a pile of soft sand. They went away with an orange, some cookies, and a little money, and we ended up with a bunch of remarkable photos.

It was a perfect day for photos, with puffy clouds and bright sun. We wandered the less visited tombs in this area and then walked to the center of town and ate at the yummy buffet. From there we went to the other side and another group of rarely visited tombs in an area where some Bedouin still live. As we climbed a flight of steps, a Bedouin called to his goats below us. Suddenly, the entire herd came running down the steps towards us, long ears flapping, raising a cloud of dust, hurrying to dinner.

We`decided to head back down, and as we came to a switchback overlooking the Bedouin camp, we looked down just in time to watch the Bedouin and his two small sons cut the throat of the goat and bleed it out on the rocks. Quite the primal experience.

Then down for another cup of tea and out to the Cave Bar as it started to rain! The ruins should be especially beautiful tomorrow for my last day, with all the dust washed away.