Thursday, October 13, 2005

Traveling Jordan-1 year later

A year ago today I took my first trip out of Amman to Petra. It was, in many ways, the first day of the rest of my life. It changed me. A friend here had told me that going to Petra was a spiritual experience for him, and that he didn't expect it. He had absolutely forbid me to leave the country without going. I had a meeting to attend to that gave me that chance, leaving me with a day free in between meetings, so I went.

It was the way the light played on the ancient rocks....ethereal. Europe feels historical, it's so old compared to America. But the Middle East feels spiritual, knowing that you are walking on places that others have walked on for thousands of years gives a different context to life.

There are caves everywhere in Petra, and I wanted to explore all of them...

The rock differs in coloration and formation as you walk along. You see more reds in some places, more muted colors of the desert sand in others. But I can not explain the way that I felt, in parts it was almost like being in an outdoor cathedral, and life was simple for moments and my soul was singing.

It was almost as if by being taken so far out of my normal life experience it allowed me to remember who I was, on a very base human level. And for a day I felt free, from the running about, from the grind of working, from my thoughts. For the moment I was just soaking up the wonder of being alive. Of how alike we really all are, more than we are different.

And then you come to this. This is the celebrated Khazneh (meaning treasury). It is by far the most recognizable image of Petra. It truly is so much more impressive in life than can be captured in photos. The detail is amazing, more so when you think of how it actually would have had to have been done.
I was saddened though, by the stands there selling tourist trinkets. There is the requisite camel that is laying in front as well. The camel was fine, but I felt that the feeling of being purely in a place where you felt part of history was ruined a bit by the touristy market stalls down in this area. I wish they'd keep all of those for the beginning/end of where you come in, at the visitors center.

Since then I've been back to Jordan many times. On my most recent trip I went to the Dead Sea between stops. It seems hard for me to believe that the first time I went I was briefed on how to catch the difference between Al-Q operatives and Jordanian Intel. It all seems rather odd to me now, as I have become comfortable in Jordan. And as I looked out over the Dead Sea to Israel, I couldn't help but remember that really, it is quite a small world that we share. I'm grateful to have had a chance to taste both sides, east and west, and to live in the best country in the world, yes I love the Middle East, but I love my America. Some say we are so far apart. I say we are closer than people know.


Anonymous Dr. Health said...

Europe feels historical, it's so old compared to America.

2:28 PM  

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