MY TREMBLING FEET AT THE HIGH PLACE OF SACRIFICE PETRA
Hmmm … it’s so delicious to drink a glass of fresh orange juice before the next adventure.
After passing the winding Siq, we arrived at the Treasury. It was still morning but we did not linger there. Rayner directed me to the High Place of Sacrifice.
Beforehand he invited me to quench our thirst in the cafe on the stairs to High Sacrifice Place. Rayner talked to the cafe owner while I sat. The cafe did not open yet but they would serve us if only orange juice. Rayner had to bargain until the owner agreed to 6 JD for a glass of freshly squeezed orange.
It felt fresh after a gulp of an orange juice that tastes sweet and sour at the same time. They didn’t add sugar. According to the woman who owned the orange cafe, they got it from a Bedouin farm near Petra. I did not realize that I was thirsty after walking from the entrance to the Treasury.
Walking up to the High Place of Sacrifice
As soon we finished our orange juice, we walked up to our next destination. The steps to the high place start just before the amphitheater. Frankly, I did not expect this (glad I did not realize until later) that we did 700ish steps up to the High Sacrifice place.
I noticed in some places engineered by Natebean people as if they were slicing stones into corridors for stairs. A long and winding road to the summit. As if it were endless. The more upward, the less visible the difference between a path and a dead end.
The weather was getting hotter and hotter.
Rayner walked in front of me with his long and quick steps. At first, I tried to match his steps but failed after a while. I just ensured that I kept him on my sight. Sometimes I lost him but he stopped and waited for me. Sometimes he matched my steps while talking about the rock formation. From time to time we stopped and took pictures of our beautiful surroundings.
Occasionally he disappeared and came back to show me which way we had to take. I could not believe how he could move so fast without losing his breath. When we met at the entrance, I doubted he could walk all day with shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops. Not to mention he brought heavy professional camera equipment in his backpack plus a liter of drinking water bottles.
We walked and walked.
As far as the eye could see, I did not see anyone. After half an hour leaving the main trail, we did not meet anyone on the way to High Sacrifice Place. We are surrounded by rock mountains, blue sky, and silence. I only heard the sound of our footsteps and my breathless breath.
“Where’s everybody? we have seen no one so far “
“Great, we have this (route) for ourselves,” Rayner walked while fixing his headband.
His casual answers worried me. What happens if we get lost? I quickly ignored my doubts. At least if we got lost, we lost together.
I was getting tired.
I asked Rayner to stop several times. We stopped, drank and took photos. We were walking again. Then stopped again. That happened repeatedly. I was not trying to match Rayner’s steps anymore. Too tired to walk and think.
We passed several ramshackle stalls with no vendors. There were even some souvenir stalls we passed along the road still hanging their goods. They were not worried it would disappear.
In the middle of the trek when I was alone (Rayner walked in front of me), I saw a man riding a donkey. Apparently, he had a problem with his donkey. The donkey stopped at an empty cafe under a tree and did not want to move. The rider tried several times to give orders but the donkey ignored him. Then after a while, the donkey moved and climbed the steps. The man and his donkey passed me.
I thought he would continue riding his donkey but he looked back.
“Hello. Are you all right?” I asked him.
“Yes. Where are you from?” He asked again while trying to control the donkey.
“No. I’m with a friend. He walks in front of me.”
Then suddenly he asked, “Can we take a selfie?” I was surprised and reluctant to do so.
“Of course.” There is no harm in just spending a few minutes.
I doubt he could come down because the donkey looked nervous. The donkey continued to move in all directions. The man took the phone out of his pocket. It looked like he could not open the camera with one hand on the reins. He took several attempts to find a camera application. Sunlight made it more difficult to find it. I became uncomfortable as I didn’t want Rayner to leave me.
The man asked me to move closer and he bent from the back of his donkey. He pressed the camera button several times. Then he checks the shots. It seemed that the photos he took did not satisfy him. When I saw that he wanted to try again, I hurriedly left him. I did not want to linger with a man I did not know in a quiet place.
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