Daily Archives: September 25, 2009
Ancient City of Wonders, Modern City of Characters
I just got back from my wonderful week long vacation to celebrate the end of Ramadan, and I have many stories to share. The next few posts will be all about that. In the meantime, if you want to check out pictures from some of the cool places around Jordan, I posted a ton on my pictures page.
Bartering in Petra
We spent two days exploring Petra, which is absolutely amazing. It was built by the Nabateans and absorbed into the Roman Empire around 100. It is an entire city carved into this beautiful red rock. There are hundreds huge tombs and monuments carved out of rock instead of free-standing. You could easily spend a full week exploring all it has to offer.
Again, here, there really aren’t many rules (see older post on the Rules at Jordanian Historic Sites). I liked climbing around inside the tombs (see left), even though some of them were filled with modern trash (unless the ancients drank Coke too, entirely plausible) and smelled like pee.
My favorite moment though of the two days came when randomly passing by three little kids who were selling necklaces. They tried to heckle me into buying a necklace, and somehow we ended up getting into a conversation. They then started bartering with me for everything I had. I really didn’t want the crappy necklaces so I decided to have fun with them instead. I didn’t feel that bad because they told me their names were Sagr (صقر), Nimr(نمر) and Thubbah(ذباح) which translate to Eagle, Tiger and THE SLAUGHTERER, so they were obviously having fun with me too.
They tried to trade my sunglasses, my backpack, anything I had (except apples… they didn’t want that) for their necklaces. They eventually asked me for mp3 music, so I offered them the CDs that I had in my backpack. This was very appealing apparently, because I managed to get one crappy necklace for 5 CDs. I gave them a few mixed CDs, Ben Folds “Songs for Silverman” and Michael Jackson’s number ones. They were pretty pumped about the Michael Jackson. Eagle informed me that he is, in fact, dead, along with Stevie Wonder. After asking me if I know Jeff (who is American and used to teach in their village – no I don’t know Jeff), arm wrestling with me (Slaughterer was the strongest, no surprise there going by name), and explaining to me that my name means “two owls” in Arabic (pretty cool – how’d I not know that?), we all left pretty pleased with the deal we just made.
I’ve always been sure of this, but this confirmed again that kids are kids are kids, no matter where you find them. I don’t have much use for the necklace that I now own, so if you are interested, let me know – I will trade it to you for 5 CDs.