LOST CITY, ANIMAL CRUELTY AND GOOD FOOD
Suddenly, I found myself in Petra. I still have no idea how I did get there and why but I guess I have always wanted to challenge the Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. The Rose City welcomed me with no questions, offered me a shelter for the rest of my life. At least, I felt that way since the moment I walked into Wadi Musa, the Valley of Moses and the town that is literally 4 km distanced from the lost city. Almost every tourist is visiting Wadi Musa because of the great approach to Petra, but not every hotel is worth of recommendation. There are those that are really expensive and they are mostly located in the first zone so you barely need 2 minutes to reach the Petra entrance but I believe that is great to experience the local taste and rhythm of life, enjoying the accommodation in some of the local variants of bed and breakfast. It is not always the best but it is always very colourful and you may really meet the Jordanian culture in its core.
Wadi Musa is adapted to tourism expectations and offers pretty much rich collection of international and national restaurants with advanced prices. First of all, Jordan is an expensive holiday if you really want to research the land as much as it is possible and that is why I was impressed to see the whole families on the trip. Petra itself is mesmerising and charming but also very controversial. I have to be honest and to admit that I expected something more from Petra. At the end of the day, it is one of 7 New Wonders of the World, one of the 28 things we need to see before we die but, unfortunately, I think I could live happily also without seeing Petra. Maybe my problem is that I was so injected by mysterious stories about the city crafted in rose stone or because of my own mental constellation of historical facts so I couldn’t cope with reality. It is beautiful and alluring but somehow, those all photos we see in tourist catalogs are more attractive as what we get when we pay the ticket 50 JD ( 70$ – single visit). As you can see, Jordanian currency plays well against EUR or $ and that is the starting question if Petra is really worth of paying so much and what everything you get for it? I would say you don’t get much but you manage to see what is the crucial on the site, being annoyed, in the meantime, with terrible animal welfare and the people who treat animals like a trash, trying to earn money on them. For everyone who is animal lover, that is the moment of truth, the moment when beauty of Petra is being destroyed by modern man who loves dollars and euros. The hundreds of donkeys, horses and camels are being daily abused to transfer the lazy tourists to the top of the Petra and legendary Monastery, also called al-Deir because it is located 850 steps up from the lower road. According to writings, it is 48 m high and 47 m wide facade, very impressive but not as impressive as The Treasury, the initial one. I was so sad to see poor donkeys that have been exploited, with no mercy, to take the people or load to the top. It was almost devastating.
Then I saw the horses that have been used in kind of primitive carriage, to drive people from the entrance through the Suq to the Treasury. Someone has to be totally cold and with no emotions to keep enjoying Petra, without seeing abuse in every single corner. We all know that Petra has been lost for the world for many years and again rediscovered as the monument of the ancient civilisation and its own life values. Nowadays Petra is abused for touristics gains, local benefits and it seems that everything is only ruled by money and not by sense for one timeless moment.
The animal abuse could be found in many other towns I have visited during my Jordanian adventure. As I have already mentioned, the animal cruelty turns off immediately my eyes for the beauty of some country, no matter how this country is nice. I had been in one restaurant in Aqaba for a dinner when I saw that the owner of the next restaurant is beating up his dog. It was more than a shocking to see the fat man who is terrorising the tiny little dog. I was immediately there, trying to stop him and remind him that as a Muslim, he should follow the Prophet Mohammad and his words of protecting the animals. The psychopath stopped with a violence against the innocent dog but I caused the discomfort in restaurants. The Westerners have been upset with that because I explained them what is happening while some normal local people had given me a right and support. The problem with animal cruelty is that it is not only in Jordan, but in America, Europe and Australia too. Animals are everywhere abused and people have to be informed about it and I really don’t care if that ruins the portray of some tourist destination. If so, then it should be ruined. Beside it, Aqaba is a wonderful place for summer holiday and activities in water. The sea is clean and the marine biology is very friendly as well as the residents of Aqaba who love travellers and they show the permanent hospitality, support and care. Those people are not closed and negative, they are simply amazing and I feel sorry that I didn’t spend more days over there, exploring the magical reefs but I wanted to meet the queen of deserts, Wadi Rumi.
It is definitely one of must be done things in this oriental country, trying to locate the traces of Lawrence of Arabia and to provoke the desert sand. This Jordanian desert has some kind of Martian attraction,almost like a trip to the another Planet. So many cult science fiction movies have been made just in Wadi Rumi, that is a piece of Earth that looks like borrowed from the Red Planet. You meet beduins, you sleep under the stars and you live and love your life again. But, never take more than one night in the desert. It is simply enough and could be pretty much depressive, hot and annoying.
I was advised to visit Al-Karak and its famous castle but the town has been so disappointing, that I felt myself stuck in the Jordanian version of Bronx. The people are really strange and they don’t like intruders, especially blonde intruders in non-muslim clothes. The only friends you will make there are those who sell souvenirs and owners of the abounded restaurants. The Castle in this town is also not worth of landing in this town, that lives in its own dimension and time.
What should I say about Amman ? I love the pulse of this city. It is big, has good coffees and good vibes. You can find all you need and you will enjoy and being welcomed. It is a kind of city that embraces slowly the conservative islam but nobody will look at you in the wrong way. The people will be happy to meet you, help you and greet you. They have been impressed with my wannabe Arabic language but it was, in spite of all, lovely to talk to them or to try to talk. Amman has something that has every great city that doesn’t sleep. I simply love it not because of extraordinary historical importance but because of the urban charm that touches me.
Jordan is fascinating country due to the all contrasts it has. It is an old Arabian culture with Beduins roots merged with new Islam. From the turquoise Red Sea and the wild nature of Wadi Rumi, to the tranquility of Dead Sea that is slowly vanishing and the Lost City that has been found, Jordan is offering a bit of something for everyone who is ready to see also the poor children and adults , animals that suffer and some local rules that are covered by religion but they will never be a religion.