Hannah and Je together

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Thirty Eighth Day – Petra in Jordan

I booked a Petra Day Trip from Eilat.  I thought about to go there by myself, but Henry, an American Jew studying history at UCLA and my roommate at Megiddo excavation, told me not to.  He did his own trip to Petra.  After the border, he had to get a cab to Petra, which is 2 and half hour driving.  And it is painful and also almost impossible to negotiate with the local taxi drivers.  And the Petra entrance fee is very expensive.  But he told me it may be cheaper to use tour service, and obviously much easier and comfortable.

King of Jordan welcomes you!

King of Jordan welcomes you!

Jordan is a kingdom.  I had tour with two other girls from Mexico.  They said they are sisters, but they do not look alike at all.  The older looks like a Mexican with quite dark skin tone, while the other looks like a European.  They said their mother is a Mexican and their father is a Jew.  I still remember how many people were at the Taba border, and how chaotic it was.  But today, we three were all at the Israel-Jordan border.  Going out of Israel was no problem as it was at Taba too.  Jordanian border was easy too.  There was a guy from the tour office, and he took our passports and did all the job while we were drinking coffee.

Bedouin Village

Bedouin Village

This is a Bedouin village.  In Arabic Bedou is traveller, and -in is plural suffix such as -im in Hebrew.  So Bedouin means travellers.  But some of them settled, and they have villages.  If you look carefully, you would see the second floor is under construction.  They do not have actual desire to build the second floor.  They just need the ground floor.  But unless the building is complete, they do not pay any tax.  That is why they just began the second floor construction, and never continue building it.

Aaron Tomb Mosque

Aaron Tomb Mosque

After two and half hours driving, we went to the Petra.  The white dot on the mountain top of the photo above is a mosque commemorate the death place of Aaron, the high priest and brother of Moses.

The entrance fee to the Petra is about $130, which is crazy expensive.  The entrance fees to the archaeological parks in Israel is around or less than $20.

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

Some caves has a decoration above it in the shape of stairs.  That indicates the cave is burial cave.  The stairs are to heaven, the ancient people thought.

Gateway to Petra

Gateway to Petra

This is the siq, the gate to Petra.  This is very long and wound channel.  It is very amazing, and there are two aqueducts on both sides.  Left one is for the animals to drink, and the right side is for people to drink.

Peeping the Petra

Peeping the Petra

After the long walk, you begin to see the greatness in the small crack of the channel.

The carved palace!

The carved palace!

And finally when you come out of the channel, the awe-ness reveals itself.  We see the two stories, but actually it is three stories.  The earthquake in Roman times destroyed most of the cities and three-quarters of Petra was buried.  The tour guide said that the ground now is 20 feet (6 m) higher than the original ground.

The true amazing thing is that almost everything was not built but carved.  They just carved the stone and huge rock.

Tourism Police - To Protect and To Serve who?

Tourism Police – To Protect and To Serve who?

We spent almost four hours in Petra.  This is huge city, even they have a theatre, but still not built but carved.  There were several tourism police but I was told that the tourism police is not to protect the tourist but to protect the merchants.  So you’d better not to engage any argument with the merchants.

View from the Restaurant

View from the Restaurant

Then we went to a local restaurant at around 3:30 or 4pm.  Even though I was crazy hungry, I can tell the food is not the greatest.  But the view of the restaurant was very good. I asked a Jordanian at the restaurant how he and other Jordanians think about Israel-Gaza conflict and Hamas. Then he suddenly bent over me and whispered at my ear, “We have lots of Palestinians around in Jordan. So I cannot say publicly about that. I hope this answers your question.”

Back to Israel

Back to Israel

At 7pm, we came back to Israel border.  And again there was nobody except three of us.  I was a little bit nervous because I know how bad the Israeli border is.  But it was OK, probably there was no other people.  They did not open my bag.  I was asked at Taba border many stupid questions such as why I carry soaps, or what shampoo is for.  But this border, I got only one normal question – “What is t he purpose of your visit to Israel?”

I wonder why there are so many people in Egyptian border while there is no one in Jordanian border.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Twenty Second Day – Beit Shearim

I had no plan for today.  But in the morning Bill from Austin, Texas came to me and asked if I am interested in day trip.  I asked him where he was going.

Bill: Capernaum.
Je: I’ve alreay been there.  Not interested.
Bill: And the church of bread and fish.
Je: What is that?
Bill: blah blah blah…
Je: Oh, Tabgha!  I’ve alreay been there.  Not interested.
Bill: And Caesarea.
Je: I’ve alreay been there.  Not interested.
Bill: And Beit Shearim.
Je: Where?

So I decided to join his group.  There was another man from Germany, a retired pastor.  So we three went out for day trip.

Cave of the Coffins, Beit Shearim

Cave of the Coffins, Beit Shearim

Beit Shearim was very interesting.  It is in the city of Kiryat Tivon, and has so many tombs and caves.  The famous one is the Cave of Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi, and since then many Jews came here to be buried from various places.  The above one is the Cave of the Coffins.  It is huge inside.  Tons of stone coffins with beautiful inscriptions and decorations.  The cave itself is like a city with so many chambers and hallways.

Above the cave, which is more than thousand years old grave, I found an used condom with its package nearby.  It is so gross having sex on the grave.  What is wrong with people living here?

Jesus Boat

Jesus Boat

Then we went to the Museum of Jesus Boat.  This is not the actual boat, but the replica.  They found this boat underneath the bottom of Sea of Galilee, and found that it is about 2,000 years old.  McCormick group came here last January.

Tabgha

Tabgha

Then we went to Tabgha.  The bottom mosaic is very famous with four loaves and two fish.  The reason of four loaves instead of five is that Jesus is holding on loaf in his hand for blessing.  McCormick group also came here last January.

St. Peter's House, Capernaum

St. Peter’s House, Capernaum

Then we went to Capernaum.  This is the St. Peter’s house near the synagogue.  McCormick group also came here last January.

Bahai Gardens, Haifa

Bahai Gardens, Haifa

Then we went to Haifa.  The picture above is the Bahai Garden at German Colony in Haifa.  We ate dinner in the German Colony and the food was not great.

Mediterranean beach, Haifa

Mediterranean beach, Haifa

Then we went to a Beach in Haifa – The mediterranean beach.  The water is salty.

Caesarea in the dusk

Caesarea in the dusk

Then we went to Caesarea at the dusk.  And as you may know, the Shabbat begins at the Friday evening.  I expected nobody, but the parking lot was full and all the streets are full of parked cars.  Double parking?  Are you kidding?  Everywhere is already triple parked.  Well, because the restaurants are open until 1am, everybody came here because this is the only (kind of) place to eat out.  I also saw many Muslims waiting for the complete sunset so that they can eat.  McCormick group of course came here last January.

So called Penis Man

So called Penis Man

I found an art which I did not see last January.  And when I found it, it was surrounded by girls aged around seven to ten.  The girls were grabbing, rubbing, and touching the penis of the statue, and their mothers were taking picture of that.  Well, great.  Early education, we need that.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.