Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Glamping in Petra....

 Camping in Petra, Jordan....
(our Middle East Adventure Part 2)

Meeting up with our dear friends the Peacocks, now living in Amman Jordan, was the highlight of our, the highlight of our year!  Actually, it was the main reason we chose to visit the Middle East on our vacation.....  Together, our two families, 7 blonde children total, headed to Petra for a few days of amazing adventure, food, and Glamping! 

Glamping: (verb) - Glamorous camping. Satisfying your craving for the outdoors and your penchant for a good meal, a nice bathroom, and a comfortable bed...
 "Oh Heathcliffe dear, I'm ever so glad we are glamping this weekend. By the way, is the butler done catching our trout?"

I say we went Glamping, because our "temporary" residences for the week were vastly more elegant and comfortable that the permanent housing of many local residents, the Bedouins that reside in the region.  The term "Bedouin" derives from the Arabic word badawī (بدوي) which means "desert dweller" or "those in the desert." 
The Bedouin Arab have a relatively harsh existence. They are nomads with no permanent homes, but live in portable tents made from woven, goat hair. The tents are divided by a decorative partition called a gata. Half of the tent is for the women, children, cooking utensils, and storage. The other half contains a fireplace and is used for entertaining. 
One of the Bedouin tents seen from the road to Petra... makes me feel dry, hot, dusty and crave massive amounts of lotion and chapstick. 
Animals are indispensable to the Bedouin lifestyle.  Camels are the predominate form of transportation, and goat and sheep are the main commodity among the people and are bought and sold and occasionally traded with famers for produce. 

 The main food source for the Bedouin is dairy products. Milk from camels and goats is made into yogurt and butter. Most of their meals consist of a bowl of milk, yogurt, or rice. Round loaves of unleavened bread are served when available, and  dates, which can be found in desert oases, are eaten for dessert. Meat is only served on special occasions such as marriage feasts, ceremonial events, or when guests are present......Luckily, as guests, we were served as if each night was a special occasion!
Sawyer exploring the desert at dawn.
Our campground "The Rock" at sunset. 
The inside of our Bedouin tent was much more comfortable than I expected out in the middle of the Jordanian desert, and definitely more luxurious than the mats in authentic Bedouin dwellings. 
Exploring camp after sunset with Sawyer. 

Nightly entertainment around the camp fire was provided by our camp hosts. 

A long day of desert hiking was rewarded with a traditional Bedouin feast known as "Zarb".  This iron rack is filled with delicious tender lamb and chicken, melt in your mouth onions, savory potatoes and juicy tomatoes.  If ever on death-row, I will request this as my last meal and die happy.  It was seriously that good!  The method of cooking this carnival for my mouth was equally exciting.  It was roasted for 11 hours in an pit covered with coals and hot sand.....  This slow cooking method tenderizes and steams the meat until it falls of the bones.  The drippings from the succulent meat then drips and perfectly seasons the vegetables on the lower tiers.

Logan and I got to help a Bedouin woman make "Shrak" on a hot domed stone.  Shrak is unbelievably delicious bread that is perfect alone or even better when wrapped around tender rice and lamb.  It's a lot like a hot, fresh, melt in your mouth tortilla from Cafe' Rio!

Vince, Britt and kids enjoying the authentic Bedouin dinner.  The Lentil soup was unbelievable.  It was made from yellow lentils and topped with a crunchy fried bread that resembled won-tons.  AMAZING!! No one ever gets second and third helpings when I make beans! 

Relaxing under the stars after dinner while the unsupervised kids hike and chase desert animals in the dark.  We can't be an attentive parents all of the time.
After dinner, a Bedouin woman applied traditional Kohl under our eyes. It is used to protect their eyes from the harsh desert sun and sand.  It also has a side-effect of  making their eyes look gorgeous....picture Johnny Depp as Captain Jack in Pirates of the Caribbean... No one can argue that a little eye-liner didn't add to his allure.
Hiking to the Treasury in Petra
Camping was only part of the fun, the real adventure was hiking to the ruins in Petra, one of the greatest wonders ever wrought by Nature and Man.  My attempt to describe the beauty and vastness of this ancient city will fall pitifully short, as it needs to be seen to be believed. 
Petra is a vast city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans more than 2000 years ago.  this city became the main junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome. 


The entrance to the city is through the Siq, a deep gorge carved out of the rock that is nearly a mile long.  The shear rocks extend over 200 feet high on each side dwarfing us and providing shade as we made our way to the ancient city.

 Al-Khazneh  (the Treasury)  was a first century tomb for an important
Nabataean king.  This entire building is carved from a single piece of rock, truly an architectural and engineering marvel. 

Emerging from the Siq to begin exploration of the vast stone city

You may have recognized the Treasury as the setting for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade!  It was just as amazing as in the movie, minus Harrison Ford of course!  After returning to Amman we watched the movie together so the kids could appreciate Petra from a different angle.
With a few kilometers of stone city left to explore, we opted to rest our hoofs and ride camels.  Going from a kneeling to standing position on a camel is an experience like no other.....lots of rocking, tipping, and sliding with no seatbelts or airbags. 

Alexis screaming with excitement while holding tightly to Hannah!

Hunter and Logan were naturals on their humpy bumpy camel!

to be continued.......




  1. That is amazing! Petra is now on our list of places to visit, and so is clamping, too.

  2. He means Glamping! But I agree- new amazing place on our list!