Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Petra Part 2 - Climb to The High Place of Sacrifice

After making our way through As-Siq to Al Khazneh (The Treasury), we avoided the donkey men and camel men (Bedouins trying to get us to rent animals to ride) and made our way away from the Treasury towards one of the places in Petra that Pae wanted to go the most, The High Place of Sacrifice.The High Place of Sacrifice is "advertised" as the lookout over Petra.It is a pretty high climb through cliffs and such, that's where the "sacrifice" comes in! You kill yourself climbing the never-ending, winding cliff stairs, and if you make it to the top, there is a great view of much of the area.At the bottom, a nice Korean tourist took our picture in front of some tombs or homes from back in the day and also in front of the amphitheater.We began walking up the stairs and quickly took a sitting, eating, drinking, applying a new layer of sunblock break.We propped our camera up on some rocks and took some pictures of the two of us...for fun...Eventually we made it to where we thought we could see the top, or the High Place of Sacrifice. By this time we were feeling like we'd sacrificed a lot already and were happy to be surprised by a small kid and his donkey around a rocky corner. The kid was on top of his donkey, sitting comfortably...looking proportionate. He, in decent English greeted us with, "You want donkey?", "No, thank you"..."Very strong donkey, he take you all the way to top", "How much?"..."Seven dinar", "We'll walk kid, thanks""Five dinar, very far to top"...At this point the kid became just another hocker, trying to make his money. We began walking away. "Four dinar"...four steps later, the kid still in the same spot behind us, watching us walk away, "Three dinar", still sounding confident and unfazed by our refusal to ride his donkey. No more than five steps later, "two, two dinar" (less than three dollars)...I stopped, looked back at Pae, repeated loudly and questioningly "two dinar??" I couldn't see the boy, he was behind a rock by this time, but he agreed, "Yes, two dinar."We rented his donkey for Pae to ride the rest of the way to the High Place. It was cute to see both the donkey and Pae working their way up the steep steps carved into the side of the mountain with the boy, wearing a red Bruce Lee t-shirt, in the lead. I ran back and forth taking pictures and also talked to the boy along the way.The boy was probably 11 years old and his name was Muhammad and his donkey's name was Jackson. He kept repeating how strong Jackson was and smiling a big crooked smile when I joked with him. He had fun leading Jackson, Pae aboard, up to the top of the mountain.He gave us directions towards other parts of Petra, suggestions, etc...and apologized that he couldn't give us a discount on a coke at the little rest stop just below the High Place of Sacrifice...as he was only in charge of Jackson! Cute kid.We climbed the rest of the way up cuz Muhammad said that Jackson couldn't make it the rest of the way. We sat and absorbed the view of both much of Petra as well as a city along the skyline far away. If you enlarge the photo below, you can see tens of tombs and other places carved into the rocks far away, otherwise it just looks like a mountain and valley.We also took in the non-donkey wildlife, which included several stray cliff cats and a blue lizard, that ran away most hilariously, tail wagging, front legs raised, back legs scurrying as fast as possible away from the photographer.We stacked rocks, as seems to be the thing to do where there are lots of rocks..haha, we did the same thing in Korea, and made wishes.The walk down turned out to be more difficult that the one up. It was a lot harder on the joints, high impact...we would make our way down and explore some of the things we saw from above, amphitheater, some tombs and more.Our camel ride is next, to be continued...

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