Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Border Crossing

I was in Jordan for a few days and I had no guide book or any
information. Despite this, I tried to cross the border into Israel at
the Jordan River crossing late in the evening not knowing what
I would find on the other side or how I would get to Jerusalem. After
the Jordanian soldiers went through all my stuff (they were fascinated
by my Burt's Beeswax lip balm for some reason) I had to wait around
for a bus to take me (the only Westerner) across the border since you
can't cross on foot. The bus was broken though and it took a while to
fix it. At that point the bus driver came over and asked what my
nationality was - I said Canadian and he said "The border is closed for
you now - you have to try in the morning. I'd already officially exited
Jordan and there was no one around and no taxis or anything so waiting till
morning would mean sleeping outside in some deserted place so I insisted he let
me on the bus so I could try to get across. He let me on and after the
Israeli soldiers checked the bus three security people met me as I got
off (tourists are only allowed through there at certain times and this
wasn't one of them). They were asking me if I'd been to Syria or
Lebanon and all sorts of other questions while closely examining all
the stamps in my passport. Then they said "go inside and we'll try
to let you through but we might have to send you back." After the
Israelis went through all my stuff they reluctantly gave me a visa -
they were very suspicious because I'd just left the country a few days
earlier. So I got through and it was late and no one was around. I
was in the middle of nowhere and there were no buses or taxis or
anything to get me to a town. I asked the security people what I
could do and they said they couldn't help me. This was all a bit
stressful since I didn't know where I was or what to do. Eventually
someone gave me a ride into the next town. I was trying to get to
Rory's place in Jerusalem so I got off at the bus station in Beit
Shean, which was closed. I walked down the highway a bit and eventually
came to a guest house. By coincidence I'd actually stayed there a few years
earlier on a course for my MA so I was happy to stay there for the
night. The next day I got up and went to the bus station but didn't
have enough shekels for the bus to Jerusalem...no one around
spoke English and I couldn't find a bank machine. Eventually I got
to my Rory's place and we went out till 4AM. I got up this morning
and went to a cafe and had some breakfast and read Rory's paper on
Spinoza and Hobbes. I was supposed to see my other friend Alex here
too but he was called up for army reserve duty. After breakfast, I felt pretty good.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I'm enjoying reading these a lot. More please..