Enter into the ‘Rose City’

July 2017–Petra, Jordan

I have to be honest, I wasn’t overly excited for my visit to Petra while in Jordan.  Since everyone claimed it was a must-see destination, and since I had previously put the goal into place to visit ALL of the new seven World Wonders, it also became a must-see for me.  So here I was on a trip to Jordan, being escorted and shown around by my Jordanian friend I knew from Abu Dhabi.  The timing was perfect, as he was currently visiting his homeland for a few weeks.  He truly was the perfect guide around Jordan, spending most of his life there, and having the same excitement as me to visit all of the spots he use to frequent as a child.

Petra was the underestimation of the century!  From the moment we entered the gates the red sandstone landscape was breathtaking! The way the sandstone had taken shape looked like a piece of creative art. As we were walking the path, my eyes gazed wide-eyed, taking in the colorful ‘art’ surrounding me.  At the end of the sandstone guided pathway, there it was, the most famous part of Petra, the Treasury Building.  Stunning, beautiful, grand, delightful; all words that could describe this carved landmark, but none that would do it justice!

Under the impression Petra mainly consisted of the Treasury Building and beautiful sandstone, I had no idea there was so much to discover!  Every way my eyes looked, I encountered a new piece of carved architecture and design. Petra, also known as the ‘Rose City,’ is actually 102 square miles, half built and half carved into the rocks.  It is filled with elaborate tombs and temples, beautifully carved into the pink/red sandstone cliffs.  This architecture is truly a must see!  There are so many times when people state, ‘you need to see it with your own eyes,’ and this is most definitely one of those times.

The Rose City dates all the way back to 300 B.C., as the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom.  It is, without a doubt, one of the world’s most richest and largest archaeological sites. It is surrounded by mountains filled with passages and gorges.

We walked, we climbed, we picked the highest peaks, for the best views.  We spent around seven hours taking it all in, and let me tell you, seven hours in 100 degree heat is no joke!  We managed to laugh, explore, chat with the locals, and not kill each other in our times of exhaustion. Throughout the course of the day, we rode on a horse, a donkey and a camel, in between all of our long treks around the Rose City.

We had a lot of fun walking into the ‘houses’ built into the stone.  Eyad and I gave each other proper tours around the houses, showing off the glamorous kitchens, powder rooms, and wall art.  We mastered the art of real estate convincing each to purchase a few carved one and two bedroom properties.

Go see it, experience it for yourself!  Enjoy chatting with the local Jordanians.  Some of who actually dress and wear black eyeliner like a pirate.  They are there own culture and embrace the true Bedouin lifestyle.

Journey to the New Seven World Wonders

June 2017–Agra, India

It all started with a quick 36 hour escape to Delhi to visit a few temples, with a day in Agra to experience the Taj Mahal.  I needed to cash in some Etihad flight miles… So what better way than to see a World Wonder?

In all honesty, I didn’t have a strong desire to visit India.  I had a vision in my mind of crowded, loud, intense streets filled with people shoulder to shoulder, barely able to move. I blame it on movies…they always manage to put an unrealistic image into our heads. But even with these crowd-frightening thoughts, I wanted to experience India for myself and make my own conclusions.  Plus, I’m a sucker for romance, so seeing this “Labor of Love” was right up my alley.

36 hours later, I was hooked.  The Taj Mahal exceeded my expectations; the inspiration, the architecture, the reflecting pool, the outlying buildings, all were a vision of pure beauty.

It was on my plane ride back to Abu Dhabi, that Saturday night, I made the decision to experience ALL seven of the New World Wonders. I wanted to start jetting around the world at that very moment, and forget about work. But realistically, I only had a few more weeks until summer break, so I managed to suck it up and finish off the year.

If you’re not familiar with the New Seven World Wonders, let me lay it out for you.  In 2000 a campaign was started to choose new world wonders from a list of 200 existing monuments. It was somewhat of a popularity pole with people voting by internet or telephone. Seven years later, how fitting, the winners were selected and publicly announced.

So here I am, ten years after the big announcement, making it my personal mission to visit each of the new wonders withing a twelve month span.

Just for clarification, because this was more of a private initiative, UNESCO has not jumped on board with affirming the list as scientific.

So here they are, the official, or unofficial, who knows…list of the NEW SEVEN WORLD WONDERS!

Great Wall of China (China)

Christ the Redeemer Statue (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Machu Picchu (Cuzco, Peru)

Chichen Itza (Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico)

Taj Mahal (Agra, India)

Petra (Jordan)

The Roman Colosseum (Rome, Italy)

I’ve had in my mind all this time that The Pyramid of Giza was a part of this list, but after a bit of research it turns out the pyramid received honorary status due to being the oldest and only surviving original Seven Wonders of The Ancient World. Since I’ve already visited Egypt and the Pyramids, I may try to go again, but it’s not at the top of my list.

Starting in June, on that exciting 36 hour visit to India, I’ve made it to the Taj Mahal, Petra, and Chichen Itza.  I’m off to the Great Wall of China in January, and am working on plans for Christ the Redeemer Statue and Machu Picchu for February.  That only leaves planning a trip to Rome for the Roman Colosseum, in April or May.

As I’ve made my way to each wonder, the history and story behind them is what has drawn me in and given me the desire to experience them entirely first hand.

Are you still curious about that 36 hour stint in June??  Stay tuned, I have plenty to share.  It was an eye-opener to say the least, full of adventure, enlightenment, and forgetfulness.