10 May 2013

My Adventure With Indiana At Petra

When I found a creative and cheap way to add Bahrain and Petra onto my Kenya and Tanzania trip, I jumped at it.  The ancient city of Petra had been on my travel bucket list pretty much ever since I learned that the place where Indiana Jones finds the holy grail in "The Last Crusade" is actually a real place. 

Passport porn.
Does this turn you on too?
Waiting in the visa-on-arrival line at the Queen Alia International Airport, I struck up a conversation with an American girl in front of me.  Besides the standard small talk, she saw how thick my passport was and asked if she could talk a look at it.  As any gentleman would do, I handed over my passport to her so she could flip through the pages and pages of stamps on her own.  Around the time she saw my Brazil and Burundi visas on back-to-back pages, she proclaimed, "I'm married and all, but I have to admit that your passport is turning me on."

Okay, I admit that really isn't pertinent information about my trip to Petra, but it's too good of a quote to not publish.

I handed over my 20 Jordanian Dinars (about $30 USD) and was granted entry into the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Since my time was limited in Jordan, I had pre-booked a driver from the Movenpick Resort Petra to pick me up at the airport.  The friendly driver seemed pretty chatty and was amazed that our names were so similar (Rayan vs. Ryan).  He asked if I was Muslim.  I had to explain to him that Ryan is a very common name in the English-speaking, non-Muslim world.  And then I had to politely tell him that I was more interested in sleeping than in talking.

He let me sleep, and the next thing I knew it was 1am.  We had arrived in the town of Wadi Musa.  After checking into the hotel, I went to bed immediately, since I was determined to wake up early and make the most of my day at Petra.

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Even though it was 5:55am, I was a little bit surprised that there wasn't anybody else standing around the entrance gate to the Petra Archaeological Park.  I was also surprised at how cold it was.

Like Angkor, Bagan, and many other archaeological sites, the entrance fee to Petra is one of the most expensive things in the country.  My one-day pass cost 50 Jordanian Dinar (about $70 USD).  However, being a sucker for almost any archaeological site, I gladly paid the guy at the ticket window when he opened it.  Besides, that was a small investment to pay for a chance to drink from the holy grail and be granted eternal life.

Soon after walking through the gate, a stray dog trotted up along side of me.  Anyone that knows me is aware that I'm not much of a dog person, and I admit that I considered chasing him away.  However, he seemed content to trot next to me and happily wag his tail.  Maybe he was my reward for being the first person through the gate on this particular day.  I decided to name him Indiana.

In "Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade", Sean Connery (aka Henry Jones) reveals that Indiana Jones's real name was Henry Jones Jr., but "Junior" preferred to be called Indiana, which was actually the family dog's name.

My Complimentary Guard Dog
Indiana, my complementary guide / bodyguard
Since there wasn't a single other tourist in sight, Indiana quickly became my best friend as we walked through the narrow canyon known as the Siq.  He bravely led the way through the narrow passageway, occasionally looking up at me to make sure that I was still following him.  On several occasions, I tried to take his photo, but he would shyly look away as soon as my camera pointed in his direction.

Even though there weren't any other tourists yet, there were several of the park employees that were arriving and walking briskly through the Siq on their way to their posts inside the park.  Despite Indiana's shyness, he was never afraid to protect me from these potential threats.  Whenever anyone got within 20 feet of me, Indiana would bark and growl until the "bad guys" were a safe distance away from me.  I secretly hoped that Indiana would do this all day long so that I wouldn't have to worry about any souvenir hawkers or donkey guides hassling me later on in the day.

The Siq
The Siq
After about 20 minutes of walking through the narrow Siq, Al-Khazneh (more commonly known as The Treasury, or the place where Indiana Jones found the holy grail) came into view.  Indiana and I stood there, mesmerized by this magnificent site.  It's hard to believe that this huge building is carved into a wall of solid rock.  I took the time to relish the moment of being the only person standing in front of The Treasury, since I knew that hoards of other tourists would be showing up within a couple hours.

Eventually, another tourist came ambling through the Siq.  It turned out that he was on his second day of visiting Petra, so I picked his brain about some of his tips of what to see during my one day there.  Indiana must have been jealous that I was talking to someone else, because he started gnawing on the guy's leg.  It was at that point where I had to betray my best friend and chase him away.

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Later in the day, I ran into Indiana hanging out with some other dogs.  He pretended to ignore me.  Obviously, dogs are not man's best friend; dogs are dogs' best friends.

I Spy The Treasury
There it is -- the home of the holy grail. (aka, The Treasury)

Needless to say, I never did find the holy grail that day, nor was I granted eternal life.  I'm blaming Indiana.  I think he and his fellow dog friends are actually descendants of the Knights Templar, and they hid the grail from me since I wouldn't let Indiana eat the other tourist's leg.

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The Royal Tombs
The Royal Tombs

 Global Goebel's Petra Notes and Tips:

  • Get there early so you can witness the beauty of Petra before the tourist crowds and souvenir vendors arrive.
  • Bring a hat and sunscreen, but also a sweater or light jacket.  The sun can be intense, but the mornings can be especially cool.
  • Wear good walking shoes.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Take the Al-Khubtha Trail up and over the Royal Tombs to get an amazing view of The Treasury from above.
Above the Treasury
The view of The Treasury from the Al-Khubtha Trail

  • The hike to the Monastery is well worth it.
  • The Bedouin vendors and hawkers inside the park aren't as annoying as I was warned.  Usually, a polite "no thanks" was enough for them to go away.  There are much more annoying hawkers at most other big tourists sites in the world.
  • There are a couple places with signs pointing to "The Best View In The World".  In my opinion, the view wasn't that spectacular and could've easily been skipped.
The Monastery
The Monastery

  • The salami sandwich at the cafe in front of The Monastery was more like a baloney pita.  However, the cafe's mint tea and pomegranate juice were both excellent.
  • If you have more than a day to spare, you can buy a two-day pass to Petra for 55 Dinar or a three-day pass for 60 Dinar.
  • I wish I would have had more time to explore Amman, the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum, and other places in Jordan, but one day at Petra still made the trip worthwhile.
The Theatre

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You can view all my photos from Petra by clicking here.

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If you liked this entry, you may also be interested in:
   Global Goebel Travels: My Top 10 Experiences In North Korea
   Global Goebel Travels: Local Guides: Burma - Bagan
   Global Goebel Travels: Mount Kenya - Day 4: Lenana Peak, Reaching The Summit
   Global Goebel Travels: One Day In Bahrain
   Global Goebel Travels: Conquering Kilimanjaro

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Have you ever been to Petra?  Tell me about it in the comments section below.

The Great Temple
The Great Temple


  1. Absolutely awesome. I can't wait to go!

    A thick passport is damn sexy.

  2. I think if I was there when there weren't any crowds I would be tempted to re-enact daring escapes from imaginary Nazi's.

    Of course, that would be hard to explain if the security guards happened to come along.

  3. Such an amazing place. Thanks for sharing!


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