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May 3, 2002

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Petra occupied us for another day; 800 registered sites that spread out over 6 kilometers and sit over and around red sandstone cliffs. It's enough to keep us hiking all day.
The Siq, Petra's entrance over 1 kilometer deep, solid rock ripped apart by tectonic forces.
Why bother painting when Nature does a great decorating job? Until 25 years ago, many of these caves served as homes for Bedouin.
Petra named from the Greek word for 'rock,' yet a group called the Nabataeans founded this city. They were a West-Arabic nomadic tribe that became rich taxing the overland spice routes from Arabia to the Mediterranean. They made enough money to build tombs like this one, dubbed the 'monastery' because the Byzantines converted it into a church.
Sometimes we feel like sheep following the 'tourist trail.' The Jordanian government allows herd animals to aimlessly roam around their national archaeological treasure. Meanwhile, the shepherd boys practiced their aim with a slingshot against this tomb's precious fašade.