Tag Archives: Jordan

Wadi Rum, Petra and the silence of the soul

Wadi Rum, Jordan is also known as The Valley of the Moon. The desert is desolate, filled with silence, and the mind quiets if you allow the chatter to drop. I marvel at the wandering camels just as the Bedouins do. They call the camels “The Gift of G-d” because they are fast running creatures which can go sixty-two miles (one hundred kilometers) in twenty-four hours. These camels have strength and endurance and many of them attach themselves to one owner. There are many breeds of camels besides racing and burden carrying however in Wadi Rum there is a special breed developing that loves people and being caressed. Look at this cute face, almost as if she’s saying “let’s be friends.”

© hannah kozak

Camel at Wadi Rum, Jordan

In the middle of the desert we stop for tea and cookies at a Bedouin camp with tents made from goat hair followed by a breathtaking view of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom; a famous landmark, named after the book by T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). Discovering an unknown land brings freedom to my soul.

 © hannah kozak

Tea at Boudoin camp – Wadi Rum, Jordan

© hannah kozak

Bodouin camp – Wadi Rum, Jordan

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Seven Pillars of Wisdom – Wadi Rum, Jordan

The tour guide stops us in what seems to be the middle of nowhere and begins to pick an herb off a tree and build a fire from sticks he gathers nearby. I am charmed by our guide’s substantial gifts; a warrior who climbs the steep mountain as if it were flat ground, he is sure of himself.  He navigates through the vast desert with no GPS, creating a fresh salad in the middle of the vast space. I watch him cook onions, peppers, hot peppers on his makeshift grill and he serves my favorite,  hummus.

© hannah kozak

Lunch in Wadi Rum

© hannah kozak

Lunch in Wadi Rum desert

As I climb the summit of a naked mountain, I meet a family traveling from Madrid, Spain. The child turns to me and asks “este es un buen movimiento? o un mal movimiento?”  “Is this a good move or a bad move?” and together, while continuing to communicate to each other in Spanish, we navigate the rocks with the reach of a hand and the placement of a foot, until we reach the peak. I think of my father’s family, who were in bondage and here I am in Jordan.  I celebrate my freedom with a deep inhale and exhale at the top.

© hannah kozak

Wadi Rum view from a summit

Wadi Rum is a journey to another world where Petroglyphs are carved into the sandstone and granite, camels wander in a quiet, silent desert, the rocks seem placed here by something not of this world, and solitude is made of sand and G-d.

 © hannah kozak

Petroglyphs at Wadi Rum

© hannah kozak

Wadi Rum camel

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Wadi Rum camel buddies

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Wadi Rum camel friend

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Random goat foot in Wadi Rum

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Mama and baby camel in Wadi Rum- The baby will remain close to her mother until she reaches maturity at five years. Who’s your mom?

“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince


The Lost City of Petra, Jordan

Aqaba, Wadi Rum and Petra, Jordan are referred to as “The Golden Triangle.” Crossing into Jordan from Eilat, Israel only required showing my passport eight times. We pass through Aqaba, the only coastal city in Jordan situated at the northeastern tip of the Red Sea. Aqaba has been inhabited since 4000 BC because of the strategic location of trading routes between Asia, Africa and Europe.  For a moment, I still feel as if I’m in Israel except the giveaway is all the signs are in Arabic only while in Israel the signs are in Arabic, Hebrew and English. The long stretch of highway to begin our trek to Petra awaits us. I have a big smile on my face as I see groups of black, white and tan sheep roaming on the side of the road, thirty or more and sometimes only five to six. Random goats on the side of the paved road while a sun bronzed man rides a white donkey, slapping his hand on the donkey’s neck.  At eight thirty in the morning, I already have to strip off my thick sweatshirt, which I needed earlier. I’m hard wired for new experiences, for getting out of my comfort zone and this awakens me.

@ hannah kozak

Border crossing from Eilat, Israel to Jordan

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Donkeys en route to Petra, Jordan

I’ve been dreaming of visiting and photographing Petra for many years. I came to Israel two years ago and had the one day trip set to visit but a flu struck most of the tiny country including myself. I see tumbleweed, sage-like bushes, a lone tree now and then. In the near distance, I see a group of brown and black goats with mountains. I haven’t slept in six nights and I’m hoping the ride will lull me to sleep but I don’t want to miss a goat-herd sighting. The two hour drive in the desert is quieting and then the arrival at Petra. Petra is much more than what you see in the Indiana Jones movie. It was originally meant to be a cemetery, where the rich had a place carved into the stones. The Nabateans, clever and practical people, turned it into a trading city and until the Romans invaded, it was thriving for hundreds of years. Paved roads, agricultural terraces, water harvesting systems, artwork, temples, even theatres. They were open to all cultural influences and if you look at any carved monument, you see the influence of Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Graeco-Roman, all fused into a grand unified network.  I love the camels and find their faces fascinating.

@ hannah kozak

Petra

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Camels at Petra

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Donkey in Petra, Jordan

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The Treasury in Petra, Jordan

Lunch midday in Petra was a delicious mix of vegetables, rice, potatoes. I found the food in Petra yummy everywhere I ate.

@ hannah kozak

Lunch at Petra

UNESCO has named this a World Heritage Site since 1985. This rose-red city is a must see before you die. Here are some additional shots from my day in this 8th wonder of the world.

@ hannah kozak

The Treasury in Petra, Jordan

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Camel in front of The Treasury at Petra, Jordan

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Camel – Petra, Jordan

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Camel at The Treasury – Petra, Jordan

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Girl in Petra, Jordan

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Petra, Jordan

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Petra cat

The Amra Palace hotel was full of surprises at every turn. For a mere 13 JD- Jordanian Dollar, which is US $18, there was a Turkish bath, steam room, body scrub, complete massage followed by a cup of tea in the Turkish bath and a giant pool that I had all to myself.  After walking through Petra all day with camera gear, I was aching and the treatment helped me to finally sleep after seemingly endless jet lag.

@ hannah kozak

The pool at The Amra Palace-Petra, Jordan

I woke up to an incredible breakfast selection. Four types of homemade yogurt; strawberry, blueberry, plain and vanilla with dates and figs from the desert, which I view from outside the window in my hotel.  A cook is making perfectly round mini pancakes. Apple, oranges, apricots, grapefruits, cheeses, tomato, cucumber, hummus in a dining room of marble pillars overlooking a garden of hibiscus flowers. Trip Advisor has given the Amra Palace Hotel a certificate of excellence and so do I.

@ hannah kozak

Breakfast at The Amra Palace- Petra, Jordan

@ hannah kozak

Jordanian newspaper


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