Four Wheels Around - A Road Trip from the UK to South Africa

In February 2009 we are setting off on the trip of a lifetime from Brighton, E-Sussex, UK to South Africa. Furthermore, we are raising money for the British Red Cross along the way. This blog will cover our preparation until we leave and our adventures whilst we are on the road.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Madaba to Petra - Jordan

So here we are in Wadi Musa. Wadi Musa is a small town that has sprung up next to Petra to inhabit all the tourists. There are hotels galore, eateries, shops etc. It is quite nice to be near to other tourists but as always the novelty of meeting fellow travelers wears off after a while as you all fight to get into the same attractions and to the same restaurants.

We traveled down here from Madaba with Nadine and Nick the New Zealanders whom we convinced that it would be a great idea for them to hop in the back of Carol all the way to Petra. It was nice to have the company as the journey was rather lengthy due to the extremely hilly Kings Highway that we decided to drive down. En route we stopped to give Carol a much needed oil change causing a bit of a stir at a roadside garage.

We are staying at a hotel/hostel called Saba'a Hotel. Now we were actually recommended to stay there by some other travelers so we were quite surprised by it. It is possibly the most ridiculous place we have stayed in so far. Yes it is cheap. Possibly the cheapest one going in Wadi Musa but seriously, at best it is Fawlty Tower's-esque and at worse it is a complete hole! The showers don't work, windows are broken, there are many mysterious light switches that don't seem to do anything, the kitchen is grimy, the rooms smell, things are falling off the walls and if any of the rooms have television then obviously, they don't work! It is massively disorganised and crazy. Also, this afternoon one of the employees there told me that he has 'a special place for me in his heart and that he loved me'. I thought that was a bit forward as he only met me yesterday and had said about 2 words to me.

Petra is kind of a must see. Apparently. I am keen to see it and I suppose I am unlikely to be in Jordan again with this opportunity. We even watched Indiana Jones the last Crusade last night in anticipation! The entry cost is high. Something like 21 - 31 GBP depending upon which ticket you get. We wanted to avoid this cost and so Mr Pegram convinced not only me, but also Nadine and Nick that we should try to get in the back entrance that we have heard rumours of. Petra is a hidden city you basically can't see it until you are in it. It was built into a canyon within rocks and the entry and exit points to the city are limited and difficult to find. Allegedly there are just 2 main entrances. The back entrance is accessible only by a good 10km walk or so from nearby Little Petra. But rumour has it that it is worth the mission as you can get in free round the back. We asked around and some local Beduins informed us that it is possible via a 'secret way' which apparently only the locals can find..... yeah right... We set off into the desert in the direction of Petra! It was all going well, we had found the right path and even spotted some other tight tourists trying to avoid the entrance cost up ahead. Alas our plan failed. It seems that word has gotten out re the 'free back entrance' and security has been stepped up a notch or two. Infact as the security approached us he informed us proudly that today was his first day on the job checking tickets at the back entrance. Gutted. We considered our options. We tried a bit of bribary but no this guy wouldn't budge so feeling a little dejected we turned back. Although our plan failed, it was good to get some exercise, the scenary all around here is pretty spectacular and it was an interesting way to spend a morning so all is not lost.

Tomorrow rather than try again to defeat bureaucracy I will just go round the front and grudgingly pay!


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8 April 2009 at 10:19  

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