Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 1- Petra and the Dead Sea

Around Feb or March of this year my co-worker Andy started telling me about a Humanitarian project he started working with through the church.  (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)  Wheelchair trainings to create a self sustainable local force to safely and correctly fit and educate wheelchair users who are recipients of distributed wheelchairs the church supplies.  The trainers are physical and occupational therapist- 2 per training.  The church pays your ticket, hotel, and meals.  Short term specialists set-up the contracts and arrangements and humanitarian missionaries put together the details.  Trainers just need to show up and teach the 3 day training courses. 
As soon as he told me I knew I wanted in.  I have always wanted to do humanitarian work and I love to travel.  Next thing I know I am at a training day and on the "list" of credible therapist trainers waiting for my opportunity.  The call comes in the beginning of the summer- Jordan- end of Sept.  I was awed.  Jordan- the middle east?  So excited!  I never imagined my life would open to an opportunity to take me there.

This is the beginning of the that story.

Clay Watson was my co-trainer.  I was so grateful to have him along.  All the areas in the training I was weak on- he was very strong.  I think we made great teaching partners.  It is also handy to have a 6'4 man to walk around foreign countries with, espeically at night.
We started the adventure 2pm Friday,  Sept 23rd.  SLC to Paris, Paris to Ammon.  24 hours of traveling.  I would like to state for the record that I had a much better seat than Clay had on the long flight to Paris.  The Cullimore's and the Lees were there at the airport to pick us up and whisked us away to dinner.  Clay did have his checked bag lost and had to have it delivered the next day which made me feel really good about my decision to go carry on with my luggage.  That is right 2 weeks- all carry on.  I am a little proud of that fact.  Dinner was a delicious sharwerma- the best I had the whole time and then it was off to bed.

11pm in bed time and 3:30 am wake-up to be out the door by 4am for our Petra adventure.  Good thing it was during jet lag when my body had no clue what time it was.  3 hour drive to Petra, 9 hours of hiking in Petra followed by a surprise stop.  Tired and happy was the theme of the day.

Castle Ruins from the Crusades
at Sunrise
 This was a quick stop on the way to Petra- my first taste of the amazing history surrounding the area.

the South is much more barren than the North

Moses' Spring
Legend has it that this is where Moses struck the rock for water

This is looking out toward Petra
I could hardly believe what I saw
I travelled 1/2 way across the world to find Southern Utah

Rocks formations on the road to Petra- look familiar?

Offical beginning of the slot canyon road to the city

Water is a big concern in Jordan
All over Petra Aquaducts and cisterns were found demonstrating the great lengths they went to to preserve water.

The slot canyon was the road to Petra.
It had remaints of the stone paved road.

All over Jordan there were cats- but no stray dogs.

First peak

Second peak

The capstone piece of Petra revealed

Love the camals

The 3 Petra explorers- Brother Lee, Clay and I

Petra is one large city built out of stone.  The facades are grand.  Most have fallen done over the centuries but there are still plenty of remants to catch a glimpse of the past.

It is difficult to see but on top of the mountain on the left side of the picture is a white dot- 
that is Aaron's tomb

There are cairn "gardens" all over.  Not used for direction- possibly just tourists playing with rocks

Most of the facades for these have fallen- but imagine what it looked like when every where that was flat and a hole had a facade on it.

Pottery pieces were everywhere

What the inside looks like.  Granted this is inside the largest room we found.  Generally speaking inside was a room- some with inlets as found here.  Very few had any adjoining rooms and others had tomb sites.

In addition there was a Byzantine church- as well as Roman Ruins- (which I don 't have any pictures of)

At the top of the hike to the "Monastery" there was a cool place to rest- literally

The Monastery

A trinket shop at the "End of the World"

View from the top

 On the way back from Petra we took a different route home.  Along this way we found many new and exciting sites.  We even found a herd of camels blocking the road.


More camels

The road we travelled down- Clay and I were so tired we actually managed to fall asleep during this drive.

Our suprise destination- the Dead Sea

The interesting rock formation is called "Lot's Wife"

The Dead Sea-
Apparently it is usually glassy still- but there was an unusual rain storm right before we arrived causing
a lot of waves.

Tired but happy

Brother Lee got up close and personal with the Sea as he filled a bottle with the salty water.  The sea is far below sea level- the lowest point on earth and is 26% salt.

The day ended with meeting up with other missionary couples for dinner- why Chinese when we are in Jordan?  Well- we weren't choosing- and we weren't complaining- ok maybe we were a little bit...

A big thank you to Brother Lee for his sacrifice of his day to enable us to have a great adventure and see one of the great sites in this world.

That is it for Day 1.
More to follow soon.



SRA said...

SO COOL! What an amazing opportunity. I look forward to seeing more.

heidikins said...

So awesome! I love that you jumped on this opportunity and that you took so many awesome pics and brought home such great stories to share! Love!