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May 7, 2003
For those not wanting to sleep outside, the Petra Hostel has dorm rooms for around $5/night and private rooms for around $8. The prices are negotiable though and a good bit of arguing will get you a long way. Many of the rooms have private showers and baths, but there are public ones as well. Hot water is readily available; you just have to ask them to turn it on for you about 20 minutes in advance. The Petra Hostel is not the most plush of places. Each room has a collection of rusty old bunk beds with rather thin mattresses. The rooms are a bit cramped as well, but most of them do have a balcony, which is a plus.
The staff of the Petra Hostel in general are not terribly helpful or friendly. The man who they seem to have employed as the street tout for the Hostel is a man who likes to poke at your nerves and make you uncomfortable. He followed us all around the Hostel and made inane comments like, "The people of America will suffer soon." But once you get by him, the others aren’t bad. They will do whatever you ask, but will do so without a smile. The only real exception is an American, from Cleveland, named Calvin, who one day decided to get up and move to Israel. He ended forming his own religion and is an extremely friendly and fascinating man if you get the chance to sit down and talk.
So while the Petra Hostel is not the most wonderful of hostels, it works, and it is cheap. Personally, I think the view itself is worth the price for one night.
From journal Jerusalem and the West Bank
March 18, 2001
From journal "A vacation or a vocation?"