“Vamos, a cumplir nuestros sueños” said the Spanish traveller as we boarded the 6am bus to Petra from Amman, Jordan. Her simple statement triggered exhilaration within me as I channelled childhood dreams that had slowly been decaying with the obligation of “growing up”. You study, you work, you love, you retire and then you die. Petra symbolized fantasy and imagination however in an age of reason there is no room for a luxury as such. My fascination with ancient civilizations made me somewhat of a nerd at an age when most children would not have been able to tell you what the pyramids were. My fantasy world was amplified with films such as Indiana Jones, a world where the past and present collided and new discoveries led to further mysteries. New founded certitudes merely transitioned in to insightful doubt. As I embarked on the road to the Treasury from the entrance gate I observed with great detail the way of life of the people. Not a moment passed where there weren’t offers for horse or donkey riding nor discounts on postcards and “authentic” relics of the past. Walking through the canyon like road one couldn’t help but fall in a state of dichotomy. I felt like a typical tourist with my camera yet I also felt like a true adventurer, 16 000km away from the place I called home walking on a road that was taking me back in time. After approximately 40 minutes of walking through the gorge, I got my first glimpse of an eclipsed temple like structure concealed by walls of rock. I continued and witnessed the marvellous expression of creativity by these ancient people. Crowds of people were gathered before the building’s feet, absorbing her beauty, embracing each other and then moving along. As I continued to explore the other landmarks I appreciated the fact that I truly was in a time warp. I was surrounded by ancient tombs carved in to the faces of the rocks, I could see the high altar of sacrifice on a peak watching the tourists below, and stood at the end of the world, a bird’s eye view of the surrounding scenery as well as the Monastery. As I exited this time warp and walked towards the present, I pondered what it must have been like to have been able to have seen this red city at its peak. My imagination was fuelled and I left Petra with less answers and more questions. Though I had the satisfaction of seeing one of the Seven Wonders of the World, my only regret was that I was 2000 years late. Despite my regret I felt euphoric as I had just accomplished one of my dreams.
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