We thought Egypt was desolate but there is absolutely nothing in Jordan once you leave Amman. All that can be seen for miles and miles is open dry dessert. Makes you realize how precious the Nile River is. I have to admit that I had never heard of Petra until we booked this trip, but now I think that it is one of the most amazing places in the world and is now listed as one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World. We both rode horses for about three quarters of a mile up to the entrance to Petra which is the Siq. The Siq is a mile and a half long deep narrow gorge hemmed by cliffs soaring up to 250 feet. This is the cut that Indiana Jones and Sean Connery rode through in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In real life it looked even more spectacular than it did in the movie. Just before you exit the Sig you start getting glances of the Al-Khazneh and when you emerge from the Siq you come face to face with the AL-Khazneh, the pride and joy of Petra and the most amazing monument there. This was recognizable immediately and used as the temple in the movie.
Jordan is a Kingdom ruled by an absolute Monarch, King Hussein, who has absolute power over everything. Our guide told us that Jordan has gotten billions of US dollars as a result of the current king’s father King Hussein making peace with Israel. Lot of the money went into the infrastructure of the country as well as a percentage to the King’s bank account. Honor killings are still permitted in Jordan; in other words if a man even thinks his wife is cheating, he can kill her which is sure cheaper than a divorce. They had 29 honor killings of women last year. Jordan, like Egypt, is definitely a country of contrasts. For the next two nights we are staying in a resort on the Dead Sea and it rivals any 5 star resorts in the Caribbean. We had diner and a bottle of wine at an outside table at an Italian Restaurant overlooking the Dead Sea and you could see the lights from the West Bank of Israel and Palestine across the Dead Sea. We counted at least eight pools and water falls in the hotel and after dinner as we strolled along the sea side we could hear “La Bamba” playing from one of the beach side clubs in the hotel. A big change from the miles of nothing – three hours worth- we drove through to get here. The Dead Sea and our hotel are located 422 meters (1,385 ft) below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface on dry land. If you can drink less at altitude, can you drink more below sea level, just a weird thought. Tomorrow we are going to visit the site on the Jordan where Jesus was baptized, and then return to the hotel to start preparing for our trip home.