August 7, 2001 – Petra




Today after an early wake up by the numerous minibuses for Wadi Rum and Aqaba at 6am, I have only one goal for the day: the climbing of Djebel Harun to see the tomb of Aaron, brother of Moses, that has been built at 1396m. From the village of Wadi Musa, we cannot miss the white point at the top of one mountain: this is my destination.


Petra : Djebel Harun (you might see the white tomb at the top right in the middle)


Before I leave the village, I buy some water (3 bottles) and some food. So I start at 8:30 (it should have been earlier but…), the roundtrip should last 5:00 from the temple of the low city and you can add 3:00 from the hotel to the low city. Near the temple I clearly see the path to take but after a few minutes, I notice that the path disappears in front of me so I must be wrong. Hopefully someone is waving at me, so I come to see her. The lady tells me that I am on the wrong way to Djebel Harun, she shows me the direction clearly more on the right and she invites me to follow the road used by the pick-ups.


A few hundreds meters from the top I decide to have a break under a tree, a nice shadow at 11:30, before climbing the most difficult part of the mountain. I should have started earlier this morning because it is pretty hot at that time. After a 30 minutes break, I hear and then see a group of at least 40 people coming in my direction at a quick pace. In my guidebooks, it is written that during this journey, you will hardly meet someone !! I resume the climbing in order to be, at least, the first one at the top but at 50m from the top I am lost, I had the choice between going left or right, I chose right, and it leaded me to big rocks. I decide to to wait for that group, if they come to me, I am in the right direction and maybe they will show me the way. Suddenly, I see a lot of nearly 20 young men wearing some kind of military clothes and their Jordan instructors. We speak a little bit and they propose me to follow them in the climbing of the rocks. I prefer to wait for the second group because the first one is climbing too quickly for me. I finally do the climbing with them and I reach the top.


We are more than 50 at the top all around the mosque, which is extremely white. These young Jordans seem to be happy that I am here and many of them want to ask me questions. So Mohammad and Murad become interpreters for their friends to translate their Arabic questions into English. We make some pictures for me but also for them, the young keeper of the mosque tells me that I am the only foreigner for the day. After such a climbing, I know the reason.



Djebel Harun : With Mohammad


We will stay here for more than 2 hours all together just speaking on various subjects. Most of them are sleeping at the shadow of the mosque or even inside. Whereas I have only 1 bottle of water to go down, a Jordan asks me for some water and gives the bottle to his friends, so no more water despite the heat but Murad offers to bring me some water from the young keeper house. Choukrane !


These young Jordan take part in Prince Al Hassan challenge (brother of King Hussein). Every summer a one-week challenge is set up. Some times foreigners come and some Jordan instructors fly overseas to train other young men. This year, they started in Amman and they walk to Petra in 5 days !!! They have 2 liters of water that has to last for 2 days!!! I am really impressed. Tomorrow is their last day of the challenge in Wadi Rum. Next year they will be in Aqaba and then Egypt, they will have challenges in the Red Sea and they will learn how to pull the trigger in the Egyptian desert.


I go down the Djebel with them in a very cool atmosphere. During all the way down, I try to be in the leading group and many Jordan will walk besides me and we will speak on soccer, France, Jordan… This day is one of my best souvenirs of this trip. During a break, a guy aka Tiger will play flute, everybody sings and claps. I only clap of course.


Arriving in the low city, everyone is happy because the day is over and they will go to Wadi Rum by bus, the atmosphere is yet excellent and an instructor offers to go with them up to Wadi Musa. I am very happy of that and I accept promptly. In the bus, the ambiance is great, the driver always put the same song from Nadjwa Karam, a Lebanese singer. This music is all the most important to me that it reflects my whole trip in this region for the last weeks, I hear it nearly during all my travels by bus. Their instructor is playing with his chest and is starting a slow dance in the bus. In Aqaba, I will buy her album, Muhammad writes me the title of the album and the name of the singer in Arabic, he also offers me a Coke and we drink it surrounded by this music.


To hear a sample of Nadjwa Karam, click here


Djebel Harun : Dancing and singing on the way back


It was a day to remember.


Tonight at the hotel, we have the opportunity to watch one of the 2 famous movies in history shot in Jordan. It will be Indiana Jones and the last crusade with the end in Petra in front of the Khazneh. The other Jordan movie is of course Lawrence of Arabia shot partly in Wadi Rum.





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