Sunday, Oct. 15 – Petra, Jordan

We arrived in Petra today and checked into our hotel. It is very modern and up to date. In other words, we can’t work anything.

The man who built this hotel started with nothing and then worked hard, saved and bought or built a small store. he hired people and gave them a way to make a living. He then worked some more and built this hotel and hired more people who then have money to put back into the local economy. What a concept. And remember, the Muslims don’t believe in loans or interest payments. So it may be even harder for them to get ahead.

“Islamic mortgages are considered halal mainly because they don’t involve the use of an interest-based loan. Traditional mortgages are widely believed to be haram, or forbidden.” So says Google. As with most things, there is some debate about these issues among those who practice this religion.

We took the short walk from our hotel to Petra this morning at 7:30.

We walked past the Petra Museum on our way down into the slot canyon that is the location of Petra. We have seen some slot canyons in the U.S. but this one is huge.

We spent nearly seven hours walking down, around and back out of this once lost treasure and wonderland.

The stone carvings of the facades and the main buildings with their columns and reliefs are amazing.

The Treasury Building is the building most of us are familiar with and it is amazing. Remember, there is still twelve or more feet of sand and dirt in front of it. There is simply not enough money to do more work there. Go to the right side near the front and look down the mesh covered shaft to see down to the base of the Treasury.

Time is taking its toll on these great works of colossal art so come sooner rather than later. In a thousand years it may not look as fresh as it does now.

The sandstone comes in a wide array of colors from tan to dark purple with most colors in between. We walked past many small and large carved facades. There were many very small carvings as well.

Whatever you think Petra is, you are wrong. It is much more than you can imagine and you must come to see it to understand the magnitude of these beautiful ruins.

By the way, many people still live in these caves. Sadly they depend on tourist trade and often don’t send their children to school.

Watch out for the golf carts and donkeys rushing by you. They will be there to take you back up and out if you need them. Try not to buy something, I dare you.

We had a fine lunch at the bottom of the path. The restaurant is owned by the same company that owned our hotel in Amman. The choices are almost endless with many fruits and a fine dessert bar.

We returned via the upper route which took us by the urn cave and others.

We met a nice woman here, named Laura, who we talked with for sometime. She lives in the caves up on the hill above her. She walks to work in her stand close by each day. Her had was done in henna and she spoke nearly perfiect English.

She is Bedouin and most all of them, she has a simple and difficult life.

She gave us a small gift as we took her photo.

There have always been more poor people than wealthy people on this earth. Such is life.

I believe in equal opportunity but to believe in equal outcome is nonsense. Few wish to take the chances that may bring one great wealth and prosperity. Not all of us are the same intellectually and of course some work harder than others. Luck plays a part in success as well. This will never change.

When one does succeed however, it is your duty to help those less fortunate than yourself. The rich create jobs, build factories, art museums, hospitals and more. The poor do not. That is just the way of the world, sadly.

And don’t forget the stock market and banking which make it possible in our western society to borrow money take chances to create new innovations and inventions.

I’m not a big fan of banks. They make it very difficult for the self employed person to borrow while at the same time we often make much better credit risks due to our work ethics and drive. I succeeded in spite of them.

Their service is awful for the most part now and they want us to pay for every service that we need while paying a return that is less than inflation. They want us to do all our banking over the internet and will fire their employees at the drop of a hat. I’m done.

I must add her that my wife is striking and many times if we are in Spain, Italy or the Middle East, she is often mistaken for a local. Her family roots lie in Iran and of course all of these people here are related from mixing over time.

I have to look closely to find her if she gets too far away from me. However, I can recognize her from behind as I am usually there, walking and keeping track of her. We have been married for forty years, so I am familiar with her geography.

Try to remember when traveling that everything that is different isn’t broken. It is just different.