Petra, Jordan: Incredible and Frustrating

Two days at Petra.  Two contradictory feelings to describe Petra: Incredible. Frustrating.
Camel at the treasury

Petra is old. It’s amazing. It’s beautiful, spectacular, impressive and all synonyms of the like. If you think you don’t know Petra, you probably know more than you realize. Think Indiana Jones. Petra is also full of bad jokes, which you’ll hear from the locals time and time again, “Welcome to Alaska,” “Take a break (at my cafe), take a Kit-Kat.”

Walking through Petra is like walking back through time. Walking alone as a woman through Petra, is like walking along a misogynistic catwalk.
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After angering the 100th man for refusing a ride on his camel to the monastery, I was rewarded with a really beautiful poem: “You should go back to your country. You’re ugly. You’re old. We have our own women here and we don’t need you. You’re old and ugly and our woman our better than you.” Ah, how sweet. Then I was further rewarded by this very kind camel driver and his burro riding buddies as they rushed past me, knocking me over saying, “that’s what is called an accident.”

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I took a picture of one of them to use as a bartering tool. I’ll delete the photo if you leave me alone. And stop following me. And stop harassing me. Once the deal was struck, he very sweetly shouted after me: “If you take a picture of me again, I’ll crush your f*king skull.” It just doesn’t get sweeter than that, does it?

Luckily, I ran into two guys I had seen on the bus down from Amman. They so kindly allowed me to stay with them for the rest of the day.

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Turning a rough day into a much better one, we met Mohammed, who brewed us multiple Bedouin teas as the sun went down over the monastery in Petra.


Day two, I hesitantly returned to Petra, accompanied by the lovely Andrew from England.
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We strolled, we drank tea (again with Mohammed), we laughed, we were not bothered. Walking alone and walking with a man, unfortunately, is a world of difference. A difference of safety, a difference of well being.

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