Friday, 15 February 2019

Mövenpick Resort (Petra, Jordan)

The plan for today was to finish visiting Petra Park and then meet my driver, Mamoot, at noon for our return drive to the Hilton at the Dead Sea. In order to meet this timetable I needed to start my Petra visit at around 8:30 a.m.

As expected, once I entered the park I was approached by several guys who thought I should ride one of their horses through the park. I politely declined. Several times, in fact. I said I needed the exercise. Which is the absolute truth!

Things that I saw the previous day, in different time of the day, looked different because of the change in lighting. As I walked along I tried to imagine what everything looked like when it was new. The years of wind and rain have taken its toll on so much of what I saw.

One of my favorite stops was the auditorium. It is still very recognizable as a amphitheater and could easy (perhaps it does) provide seating for events. It was built to hold 4,000 people. All of this carved into rock. From what I read, it is the biggest in the world. I have no doubt about that.

Just a bit further down the road I met up with Muhammad and his two mules. He introduced himself as “Muhammad with the gold tooth”. He asked if I’d like a ride and I said no. As it happened he kept walking in the same direction. He kept talking and I then said, because we were getting close to the end of the main trail, that perhaps I could ride one of his mules back to the entrance. He said that would be great.

He told me he was a Bedouin and was raised in a cave with his family near to this location. Some local Bedouin still live in a few of the remaining caves. He talked about as a youngster how he ran among the rocks in the hillside. He of course knew all about what I was looking at and recommended places to take pictures.

We agreed to take another route back to the entrance. It was along an upper trail that gave me a different perspective from another angle. This was a great idea! I almost forgot to take pictures because I was enjoying hearing his stories.

He returned me to the entrance just in time to get back to my room to shower and pack. I like when it all works out and can also have an amazing experience.

Mamoot was waiting for me as I left the hotel at noon. As we were driving out of town he stopped and I took pictures of the snow that had fallen the night before. You could see the snow on the hillsides. Just the day before it was nearly 20 degrees Celsius (around 70 degrees Fahrenheit).

We drove through a number of small towns during our drive back to the Dead Sea. On the way he stopped to pick up freshly baked pita bread. Then another stop to buy us Turkish coffee. Also a stop where I could use the toilet.

A much different view than the day before. He drove us by a place where a man kept 300 dogs that were previously homeless. There were dogs everywhere! The landscape was so different than the mountains that I saw yesterday.

The return drive to the Dead Sea seemingly took less time than yesterday’s trip to Petra. By now our conversation was less formal and we talked about a variety of subjects. I guess this makes the time pass quicker.

When I returned to the hotel I thanked Mamoot and made sure the hotel staff heard me say that he was my #1 driver. I also gave Mamoot a good tip. He may drive me to the airport on Sunday, but he needed to see if he was available.

My room was upgraded to a nice junior suite. A member of the hotel staff showed me the room and the gifts that were left for me. I big bottle of red wine, a tray of desserts and a basket of fruit. The view from the balcony was amazing. Think I’ll like it here.

That night I watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade via my laptop hooked to the TV. The final scenes were filmed in Petra. Was fun to watch some of the places I visited just hours ago. While watching I started to eat more of the desserts. Eventually I had to flush what remained since it was possible I could have eaten the rest of these small desserts. The remaining wine I’ll enjoy tomorrow night.

The weather looks kind of iffy for tomorrow so I’ll probably just hang around the hotel. All of the walking from the last two days have made me tired. I have no reason to leave my room, except to maybe have lunch tomorrow.

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