Fuckin' Fuck, Fuck, Fuck
Trip Start Apr 09, 2006
148Trip End Jun 09, 2007
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Crossing the border into Israel was as easy and pleasant as I ever imagined. I left my hotel in Amman at 7AM and jumped in a taxi for one of the main bus stations, which was only a few kilometers away but it was all uphill. Got out of the taxi and immediately joined a shared taxi to the Jordanian / Israeli border at the King Hussein / Allenby Bridge crossing. This is the only place to cross into Israel without having any record in your passport that you have visited. Jordan doesn't view it as an international border (as they still believe it is their territory on the other side) and Israel will gladly stamp a separate piece of paper if asked. Interestingly enough, Jordan still collects a 5JD exit tax. In any case, passports and luggage were checked a number of times along the way - too many times to count.
We (I was hanging with two American girls who were on my bus from the Jordanian border) then arrived at the Arrivals terminal for Israel and everyone offloaded and stood "in line" to hand off our luggage. We also gave them our passports and they did some administrative nonsense that took an hour before returning our passports. We watched as our packs went through the little tunnel into the scanner (and into the building). We then proceeded into the building ourselves and went through the tedious entry process. I ended up only having to wait about 30 minutes in total here for them to run a background check. They were curious about my recent visits to Syria and Lebanon, but all seemed well. The guard called me back up, stamped a separate piece of paper and welcomed me to Israel!
Then the fun starts. One of the American girls was born in Iran and moved to the US as a child. As a result she maintains dual citizenship, i.e. she has two passports. She was getting the full run-around when I proceeded through to get my luggage. I wished them luck and adieu.
I walk through (and had my passport checked three more times) before arriving in the luggage area which was approximately 40 feet away. It looks just like an airport with the conveyor and piles of bags everywhere. Long story short = no bag. When I finally found someone to ask about it (and had to raise my voice a bit to get them to even pay attention to me) they asked for my passport, showed me the sticker on the back. They put a small sticker on the back of my passport after handing over my bag. It was in Hebrew and I couldn't read it. So, the officer points to a zero on the sticker and says, "it says you didn't have any bags", and turned and walked away. Five hours later still no bag and they concluded it must have been stolen from the floor as I was awaiting entry. I called bullshit. The bag handlers must have quite a good income if they divert bags from the system and print tags that say passengers have no bags. The Israeli security didn't care and the police didn't care as I filed a report.
I AM FUCKING PISSED.
There really wasn't anything of value - I was carrying my small bag with my camera and etc., but the large bag had all my clothes and toiletries. It had a sterling ring I bought in Turkey for about $30USD and it also had a $100 bill that I had hidden in it for backup. There was also a backup ATM card (the number is different than the one I have with me) that I'll be checking often to ensure there is no activity. I don't want to cancel it yet, as it would cause me trouble too. If it is used I'll claim fraud and my bank will reimburse me. My hair trimmer stopped accepting a charge in Jordan and I had JUST bought a new one...never used. The pack itself is what I'm most pissed about I think. Now I'm going to have to find some cheap piece of shit here in Jerusalem that I'm not going to like. Ugh.
Welcome to Israel where they are experts at security. Mutha fuckas.