December 10th, 2010


Bedouin or Roma?

click to enlarge

The Bedouin have lived in Petra for millennia. They are probably the descendants of the Nebateans. Just recently, the Jordanian government evicted them from their homes in the center of the park. Some now live on the outskirts and some in a town built for them a few miles away. Many sell trinkets or rides on camels and donkeys in the park. Someone told me that most of the people selling are not actually Bedouins but Roma, or Gypsies. I'm not sure about the veracity of this claim, but the young men renting camels with their Johnny Depp Pirates of the Caribbean looks and dark eyeliner sure fit the superficial part.

This woman was selling necklaces and tea halfway down the back side of the High Place of Sacrifice, near the Lion Fountain. I don't know whether she is Bedouin or Roma. She let us snap her picture, but when I tried to show her, she pulled down her eyelid, showing me the cataracts that effectively blind her.