Best of Jordan: Petra, Food, and People

This post is the second part of my quick trip into Jordan, which in my view encompasses the best parts of the country.   Petra is an incredible heritage.  The food in Jordan is quite similar to its neighbors and are delicious.  However,  the people made the most-lasting impressions.  Click here to read about the rest of the Jordan trip.

Petra

What needs to be said about Petra!?!?? We stayed about six hours in Petra.  It was not enough, but six hours was murder when one wanted to see almost everything in the main complex and the Monastery. I literally crawled my way out.

Earlier in the day, I got a disturbing call that was related to work as we arrived Petra, so I decided to explore the ruins on my own while I cooled down and did some thinking.  Sorry about this, Ali. I had no doubt there were many interesting facts about the city and the Nabateans that I missed.  I did enjoy walking the Siq on my own. It was meditative and the moment you turned the corner and saw a glimpse of the facade of the Treasury, it was a magical feeling.

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Petra’s most famous building – the Treasury.

 

Petra should be covered in a minimum of two days for anyone who is into ruins explorations. The main complex (including the 800-steps climb to the Monastery) can be covered in a day, but there are many interesting trails that can be undertaken.  Start early at 7.30am to have the Siq and the Treasury and the Royal tombs almost to yourself.  It is worth it!  And it was not too hot yet.

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The Monastery in Petra. It was not as elaborate as the Treasury down below, but reaching this place after a beautiful climb of 800-steps must have enhanced its appeal!
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Royal Nabatean Tombs in Petra.

 

My only gripe about Petra is the vendors and service providers (donkey and camel rides) who badgered you nonstop. I know the Bedouin locals need to make a living, but there must be a better way to organize it without having to be bothered every five minutes.

 

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The Siq – the path to unravel the mystery of Petra

 

I enjoyed my time at Petra completely and I cannot wait to return.

Food

We had yummy meals in Jordan, despite the fact that the meals are buffet and are included in the tour package.  The first restaurant in Jerash, called Artemis had delicious hummus and “taboon” bread (baked in dome clay oven).

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Taboon bread in the clay oven.

 

In Amman, Ali treated us to a cheese and semolina dessert called “kunefe” (similar to Turkish version) from a place called Green Valley in the eastern part of Amman, across from the Roman theatre.  He got the “kunefe” delivered to our bus.

 

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Kunefe delivered to our bus!

 

In the Bedouin camp, dinner was a simple and traditional. They cooked us a typical rice and chicken dish (cooked upside down I was told).  The rice was a bit overdone. The vegetable soup was beautiful in the cold weather and perfectly seasoned.

Lunch, after Petra, was a blur. I was too hungry, too sunburnt, and too tired. I just ate 😂😂. I remembered the “Ummam Ali” dessert was tasty and not too sweet (a bit like rice pudding).

People

I asked Ali what was the best thing in Jordan and he said the people. He was not exaggerating.

I found Jordanians to be very friendly and polite.  Jordanians, like Omanis, are the wonderful, positive, anti-thesis of what the common Westerners think of anti-Western Arab people.   They are very easy to talk to on many subjects as they are moderate and modern in many ways.  Thanks to the wise and educated Monarchs they have had. It is liberating after spending a week in Israel and Palestine, where though things were calm and safe, I felt I had to tread on a thin line on what I say.

I am looking forward to return to Jordan and dedicate more time here.  Coming to Jordan from Israel made me realize my interests lie very heavily on the Islamic history and culture and traditions.  As a traveler and blogger, I probably should move away from these sensitive topics, but I cannot help what gets me super excited and passionate.

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