Photo: Petra by J.M. Wilder Bill
Petra was at the top of my list of mystical destinations that were sure to change my life. I envisioned the ruins as retaining the spirit and personality of the lost civilization. The secreted oasis rests within Aqaba, Jordan, which is not easy to visit.
Passport and Visa
Your passport must be valid for six months after the date you plan to enter the country. You can hire a guide or escort to assist with your purchasing the required visa.
The standard visa is for a single entry through most border crossings and arriving at the Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport. If you need multiple entries, you must get the visas from the Embassy or Consulate of Jordan prior to the day you will enter. Tourist packages called the Jordan Pass are available. More than one type of visa exists. One is for tourist who will be in Jordan for less than forty-eight hours, and another is for those who plan to stay up to thirty days.
Tension remains high between locals and tourists. The Jordan government provides warnings of terrorism and organized criminal activity. A wise recommendation is for tourists to keep a low profile.
Logistics of Crossing the Border
I flew to Eilat and hired a guide who accepted only cash to manage my crossing the Aqaba, Wadi Arava Border. After being screened and passing through security, I walked across the thick border. The crossing was an intimidating series of high gates lined with cameras, weaponry mounted on the walls, and armed guards. Once inside, there was no leaving until I was re-screened, passed security, and given permission. The mood was somber.
En Route Through Jordan
Tours begin before sunrise. Have your hotel pack a breakfast to take into Jordan. Ask your hotel to hold your luggage until you return. When you are at Petra, there is no guarantee your items will be secure.
The two-hour drive to Petra is takes you up foggy mountains and, unless it is summertime, a cold climate. Definitely, take a hat and a coat. Even in late spring, it is freezing.
There are shops selling blankets, light fixtures, jewelry, and hookahs along the way. Light snacks, coffee and tea is available in the stores. Eventually, you arrive in a cozy city. The rosy architecture gives an allure of genies and Arabic tales. It appears to be safe, at a glance.
As for wearing the proper wardrobe for the culture, locals were dressed in jeans and flannel shirts, layered with robes (thawbs), and parkas. Insulated coats, ski jackets, boots, and head gear, even winter gloves, were abundant. Some tourists made the mistake of wearing lighter outfits, cotton skirts and shorts, based on the temperatures in the areas where they began their day trip. The arid climate, high elevation, and narrow passageways created by cliffs creates whipping winds.
Regardless of the temperature, it is a conservative culture, in a way. Even a long sundress with a jacket earns lures and unsettling stares. Covering is essential for safety. Plus, you might be riding horses and camels. You will likely be more comfortable in long pants and protective shoes.
You will be walking long distances across dusty rocks, and might at times sprint across loose stones. You have the option to climb mountainous trails. Sandals are a “no-no.” I wore riding boots, which did well. Athletic shoes are a good option, however, I always prefer having a solid sole to prevent injuries to the bottoms of my feet. This is a walking trip where one could easily twist an ankle, and then there is the cold factor and need to stay warm.
Be Mindful of Customary Scams
The tourist industry is vital to the country, and agents managing the tours are attentive. They recommend who to trust and what to expect; however, they aren’t completely accurate about the local customs.
When you arrive at the site, initially, you enter a staging area of souvenir shops and restaurants. Travel with plenty of toilet paper, enough to share will fellow travelers, and disinfectant soap. The water pressure is weak. There is a hygiene issue.
As you leave the shopping area, you will walk down a corridor of pink cliffs where genies live. The tour guide will give you the option to ride horses or donkeys. They explain that you are to negotiate the fee. You can ride a longer distance in a horse drawn carriage or on a galloping camel. They don’t mention that the ride is for a small portion of the distance or that the term negotiate is inaccurate.
The men operating the livestock will agree on a price if you insist; however, at the end of the ride, they do not stand by that price. They take advantage of trusting tourists in whatever amount they can, but every one I was traveling with was given the same story. After you hand over your money, they have to find someone to get change, only to learn they don’t have change. They put on a dramatic show, wave their fists and tout you, until you scold them and walk away. Don’t expect negotiated prices to be honored.
Within the expansive setting are restaurants and shops. Again, there is a bit of bait and switch, in that you can opt for a finer dining accommodation, but you will likely be turned away at the door and directed to a less nice place without receiving a price reduction.
Lasting Impression – A Soulful Look
The artistic craftsmanship of the ancient civilization is nothing less than incredible. In a photo I took of the walls leading to the well-known facade, I captured a green light shining from an impression left by a human bone.
Each of us, no matter how much time passes from our physical death, is an energetic being. Our bodies can carry up to twenty watts of electricity. The atoms and photons making up the different aspects of who we are vibrate. They dance from our space to objects nearby, syncing their tempos with one another.
Energy is continuous, never ceasing to exist. Our energy includes our thoughts and reasoning, the root of our existence. The energy making up who we are, and who the man who wore the bones in Petra was, never ends.
The Infinity of Existence
Therefore, your thoughts and ideas carry on long after your physical presence. The thermodynamics of your presence continues forever and ever. You have the choice to shift your thoughts into a different impression.
Be mindful that you have a lasting impression. The mark you make in life remains in the thoughts of those you cross paths with, and lingers alongside the objects you came in contact with. Your energy never dies.
Your vibration existed in the original source of energy, and it will continue into infinity. Scientists have proven that our bodies emit light from our electrical currents moving through our bodies. Your light never fades, just as this man who left his mark in Petra continues to spread his light.