Caught up in all my job search related miseries (which alas will continue for another year it appears – this peregrine feels her wings are being clipped but that’s a lament for another post) I’ve done my wonderful trip back in the beginning of May a grave injustice by not mentioning it at all on this blog, which I created to write about my travels (pretentiously some might say? called my peregrinations) after all.

Anyway a long weekend came up as so many do in Egypt – this one as in honor of Sinai Liberation day I think, and a four-day break saw me flying to Jordan for a brief break. It was a long overdue trip that I’d had many false starts to since Thanksgiving 2008 when I went to my (wholly un-regretted) sudden Swiss weekend. Oddly enough, despite having watched the 3rd Indiana Jone movie in the theaters, and many times since, Petra had not registered itself in my head as a must-see destination. More fool me! That “rose-red city half as old as time” (more on that overused but not tired quote in a minute) is definitely a I’m-so-glad-I-didn’t-die-before-seeing-this destination. Beautiful, impressive and mysterious.  Though not as old by half (ha-ha there’s that word again in in the context of Petra) as the pyramids, the history here is multi-layered because of the multiple cultures that lived and carved here. The walk through the Siq was in and of itself a marvelous adventure and even though I could knew what would be waiting when I emerged, I was stunned speechless (and as most of you know, that takes some doing even when I’m alone!) when faced with the reality. The Treasury- Khazna (very close to the Indian word actually) – is a treasure even without the Holy Grail hidden in its depths. It is the best example on site of the rose-red stone of literary fame.  Not all of the monuments are as pink, some are more banana-yellow, but it’s no wonder since Burgon, who wrote the lyrical and evocative poem Petra never actually visited the place himself. My camera unfortunately had run out of juice  and in my hurry to leave I’d forgotten to pack the charger so I did not get any photos but really, there is no dearth of Petra images floating about in cyberspace. It’s the experience that is so fantastic. The quality of the stone is truly amazing – the writer who called it watered silk was not being fanciful.

If the stone in Petra was varied and variegated then Amman provided a striking contrast because all – and I mean all – the buildings in that city seemed to be built of the same stone – same color and even the same uniform size of blocks or so it appeared to me. It was not an unpleasing monotony, just something I couldn’t help but notice having arrived from Egypt where my daily commute has my eye gazing with a glazed and jaundiced eye at monstrosities with pillars and cornices and other unnecessary embellishments that bring to mind Asterix’s The Mansion of the Gods.

Amman itself it not the most exciting of cities – sorry but there I’ve said it – and I didn’t feel any burning need to go live there the way I wanted to in Istanbul but I had a wonderful time there in the home of my friend Frances, whom I’ve visited back in 2008 October in her even lovelier home outside of Beirut. A lot of the my time in Jordan other than my day at Petra revolved around … (guesses anyone? you got it) … FOOD!  Most of it the subject for my other blog, which I’ll get to eventually but not today. I did get to dip in the oily waters of the Dead Sea and while the mud felt wonderful on my body, it did not prove as salubrious to my face. I cannot complete this post without a tribute to Amjad, the driver of the green hornet that whizzed me around the country. And to this song by Frances’ husband Alexi that is not out yet but which has lodged itself semi-permanently into my head. Too bad I don’t have a CD of it yet. Having made those tributes I’ll now sign off. More from England maybe, or Germany where I’ll be for the better part of this summer.

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