Road to Aqaba

Trip Start Nov 01, 2007
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20
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Trip End Mar 01, 2008


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Flag of Israel  ,
Tuesday, November 27, 2007

So I'm actually going to jump ahead because I'm writing all of these updates as I wait for the Egyptian-Israeli border to open.  I opted to take a minibus and then cross the three borders (Egypt, Israel, Jordan) by land to save and extra $20.  The drive up here was spectacular.  Beautiful coastline and jagged desert mountains.  The water changes as it nears the shore: from deep blue to turcoise to green.  I was the only person in the minibus for the second half of the trip (first half was shared with this crazy traveler bum from Holland who had some good tips and stories about rollerblading through the Sinai).

So anyhow, got to the border and the soldiers start gesticulating.  They kept pointing me away, so I asked the International Observer what was going on.  After asking, he said it was closed...apparently doesn't happen all that often and Lonely Planet calls it the "busy Egypt-Israel border open 24 hours".  So I sat down to wait as more and more indignant tourists began to pile up.  Then they decided that I needed to move back 10 feet and tried to take away my journal...what the hell...I kind of got angry when they made me move from the rock I was sitting on.  Finally, they told us that Israel had closed the border for unknown reasons (it was also just at the beginning of the Annapolis talks).  A busload of older Romanians showed up, and they told us we all had to disperse.  Too bad we're kind of in the middle of nowhere, except for the Hilton next door.  I opted for that, and walked through the gate as if I owned the place, trying to fit in with my giant backpack.  So now I'm sitting on the beach there, watching an Israeli Coast Guard boat cruising around looking for wayward vessels.  So yeah, that's what I'm up to now...guess it's part of traveling.  Should have taken that damn boat...

This is from later: So I made it to Aqaba around 7 pm after getting to the first border around noon.  Getting through was a madhouse...complete with me fighting past the Romanians to be at the front.  Otherwise would have been there forever.  I ended up being pretty vigorously questioned, particularly when the IDF people found some notes (directions to Katie's apartment) written in Arabic in my bag.  They kept trying to make me agree that it was a letter to be delivered somewhere in Israel with malicious intents.

In any case, I made it here, crossing the no-man's land between Jordan and Israel.  Definitely need to stick to the road as the "Danger Mines" sign reminds you.  Geese were flying overhead, and as I walked alone across in the twighlight, it was an erie feeling knowing that people on both sides had their eyes fixed on me.  Aqaba has the biggest flag that I have ever seen, and it's clearly visible all the way from Egypt and probably is meant to flutter defiantly toward Israel.

First impression of Jordan: the people are incredibly friendly.  Everyone asks me my name, where I'm from, and welcomes me with a smile.  Both the hotel guy and a waiter went out of their way (even leaving the restaurant during his shift) to walk me down the street to what I was looking for.  Much less pushy that Egypt too...I'm liking it. 
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Comments

dumbdogdaddy
dumbdogdaddy on

Hi Ben
This is our first venture into blogosphere.
Enjoyed reading about all your adventures.
Not much excitement in CV so I guess we have to go out and make some of our own.
Keep on trucking (does that date me or what ?)
Marcos and Maxine
(They wouldn't let us log in as M&M)
P.S. Randy and I went to the Big Game. From a Cal perspective the Big Choke. Cal driving for the tying touchdown but then an interception. Stanford wins.Yuck.
At least they had a nice stadium.

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