Petra-Wadi Rum-Aqaba

Hi ya’ll,

This past weekend CIEE took all of us students on a three day trip to Petra, Wadi Rum, and Aqaba aka the Golden Triangle. The first stop on the trip was Petra, a Modern World Wonder and one of the most amazing sites I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit. Some of you may know of Petra from one of the Indiana Jones (don’t know which one, sorry), but I feel like the image of Petra’s Treasury (pictured below) is pretty world renowned. I didn’t know what to expect of Petra since all I knew about it was of the iconic Treasury, but in reality Petra is an entire site that ideally requires days to explore. Petra was created around 300 BC as the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom. It’s specifically unique in the fact that all major monuments were carved into the mountains, raising questions as to how a civilization that existed in 300 BC could create such impressive monuments. Petra remained a well held secret until modern day only known to the Bedouin tribes living in the area. Today, the Bedouins still work on the site, making money off of tourists who are willing to pay exorbitant an amount to experience Petra.

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Following our day in Petra, we drove off to Wadi Rum to stay the night at a Bedouin campsite. Wadi Rum is essentially a super cool desert valley surrounded by mountains, particularly notable by the fact that pretty much every Mars related movie has been filmed in Wadi Rum. In the days leading up to the trip, there was a lot of discussion as to what sleeping in a Bedouin tent would be like. A lot of people were convinced we would be roughing it in the Jordanian desert, but the Bedouin tents turned out to be super boujee. The next morning we got to ride camels through Wadi Rum, which was really the only touristy thing I wanted to go coming to Jordan. Now that I’ve had my desert camel riding experience I definitely feel like I’ve peaked (or humped, lol).

The final day of the trip we headed for Aqaba, which is a port city on the Red Sea. CIEE put us up in a swanky beach front hotel. If that wasn’t amazing enough, they also rented two boats so we could go out onto the Red Sea and snorkel around the coral reefs. From the boat, we could simultaneously see Jordan, Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia so that was an experience. Aqaba was the perfect ending to one of the most remarkable weekends of my life, and I could not be more excited to continue to experience Jordan. مع السلام

21743252_1442987069089343_3656846701140519521_n♥ Sophia

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Week 1ish

So I’ve decided that the best way to keep everyone up to date about my life adventures while studying abroad in Amman this Fall is through blogging, which I’ve never done before so try not to be too judgey.

Upon arriving to Amman, we had a three day intensive orientation where we learned the essentials of living in Amman (like how not to get ripped off by taxi drivers, which literally happened to me the very first time I tried to take a taxi). Thankfully, arrival in Amman coincided with Eid break. For the vast majority of those living in Amman, Eid is a religious Muslim holiday, but for me it mostly meant having a five day break to rest up and get to see as much of Jordan as possible.

The first major trip I went on during Eid break was to Jerash. Jerash is a city outside of Amman that is home to some of the most well preserved Roman ruins outside of Italy. Walking through the ruins, it was really cool to think of how different life must have been thousands of years ago when the Roman Empire controlled Jerash. We were allowed to touch and climb on pretty much everything within the site, so it was a bit like an Ancient Roman playground.

Visiting Jerash was so beautiful and surreal, I couldn’t imagine how any other experience could be as amazing. Yet, all my expectations of Jordan were blown away when I had the opportunity to visit Wadi Mujib. I had never heard of Wadi Mujib before coming to Jordan, but a girl on my program planned the trip and I signed up without really knowing what I was getting myself into. It turns out that Wadi Mujib is a waterfall hike where you hike upstream a river waste deep in water for 2-3 hours. For those of you who are aware of the utter lack of physical exercise in my life, you can only imagine how this went for me. I fell a lot, but I made it to the waterfall.

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The Wadi Mujib river is connected to the Dead Sea so following the hike we were all able to visit the the Dead Sea and do the magical water floating. Of course, I had previously scratched up every part of my body during the hike so my entire body burned, but the waters are supposed to have magical healing properties so maybe worth it????

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I feel like there is still so much left unsaid as everything I have experienced here in Jordan is so uniquely different from what I am used to back home and at Tulane, but that’s all I have for now. مع سلامة

♥ Sophia