This weekend I made my third trip to the south of Jordan, to see Petra. We also made a stop on the way to see Kerak castle, and then camped a few miles away from the main sites of Petra. We slept in another Bedouin-style camp, similar to Wadi Rum, and woke up early to hike the 12 miles to Petra. It took about 3.5 hours, and was way more difficult than I thought–plenty of dangerous areas, and even harder when carrying a camera–but finally we made it to one of the world’s most famous sites:
The buildings are really beautiful both inside and out, as you can see. I’ve seen so many pictures of Petra before but it’s so much more incredible up close. The treasury, the most famous building (which I’m standing in front of in the first picture) was packed with tourists, almost all really awkwardly dressed and behaved. I’m not sure what happens to otherwise reasonable people when they step into another country, but they lose all self-awareness. We saw an older man just walking around with a wide open backpack while his belongings fell out (of course we pointed this out to him and he was grateful). Also people did not seem to care that they were in a Muslim country and just wore whatever the hell they wanted. Exhibit A:
A little bit of foresight (“maybe I’ll leave my form-fitting floral tube dress for Fort Lauderdale”) would have gone such a long way.
In other news, my big piece for Jo was finally published. I’ll put a link up as soon as it’s on the Web site. It’s exciting, and I know I put a lot of work into it, but I can’t stop myself from being a little disappointed. I’m used to writing really analytic pieces that get behind the surface of a story…it’s what I love doing, and I pride myself on not being taken for a ride by sources or the government or professors or administrators or anyone. But it’s hard to write pieces like that when you’re unfamiliar with the system and the culture and thus can’t know exactly when someone’s bullshitting you or not. So I feel personally that the piece turned out a little shallow. Not inaccurate, and I’m happy with the result, but I think/hope that if I were more familiar with the place I could have written a better piece.
Wednesday night I’m going to a Sufi music festival with a friend here, and then Thursday I leave for Syria. My life has become ridiculous.