We spent today finding our way around the wonder of the world that is Petra. Walking though the wadi early in the morning, before too many people were about, was like being in – or perhaps induced – a state of grace. My interest in the Nabataean people and culture was ignited well before the sun blazed over the canyon rim high above our heads.
I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but delighted we have another day tomorrow to explore further. The day ended with a dinner with a local Jordanian family, thanks to Exodus, with children buzzing all around, plastic grass in the sitting area, a tinkling electric fountain and an insect destroying UV set-up that every so often would let off a crack like an old-fashioned cap-gun.
We were made wonderfully at home, the food was exquisite, with a hibiscus drink and tea with sage. I had a long conversation with our host, covering everything from arranged marriages, through the influence of TV and cell phones on children, to the evolution of the local tourism industry – from a single hotel when he began work to, by his account, some 60 today.
The site is well managed, though my photographs will give an idea of a less crowded place than is the reality. Among the visitors, guided and independent, buzz electric golf buggies and the occasional SUV convoy, plus horses, strings of donkeys, and a fair few dogs and cats of miscellaneous breeds. But thank heavens that they don’t allow drones.