so, after the shoddy hotel, the messed up cab rides, and the filthy koftes turning up on our plates, it was with no great sorrow that we left amman this morning… but little did we know, that amman would have one final swift kick in the ass for us, just so we would never forget it. but i’ll get to that later.
we paid 30$ bux a piece for a bus that would take us from amman straight to tel aviv in israel, but of course along the way there would be the dreaded israeli border crossing. the israelis are obsessed w/ security and rightfully so after all the terrorism that has been unleashed upon the country..but it definitely makes getting into the country a long and arduous event. as we pulled up to the border, there were guards walking around w/ mirrors peering under buses for bombs, and other soldiers wandering around w/ huge machineguns held in their hands all ready to shoot. “this guys is serious. he will shoot to kill if there is any funny business. he has orders!” the guy next to us told us while pointing to a soldier. at this point we were told to get off and go to passport control. the guy in the bus added to us as we walked away “after passport control, we will switch to a red van on the other side of the border. be sure to get in the red van…. people on the other side may lie to you and say that there is only taxis to get your money, but look for the van”. ok, sounds easy enough.
once inside, we were instantly interrogated by the guards. they even did the usual police trick of seprating caryn and i while we were asked questions to see if our stories corroborated. now, this wasnt the usual “has anyone unknown to you given you a package” type of questions. we got asked everything: “where ar you going. do you have family there. which sites will you see. who is that girl with you. which countries have you been in. how much money do you have. will you go to the west bank. which school did you go to. where di you buy your bus ticket” etc tec etc. this went on and on and on. probably like 30 minutes of questioning. our bags were then searched, and we had to gfo through a detector. unfortunately, my pants have a bunch of metal buckles on them and i kept setting it off, so i was told i had to go to a “special room” for a “body search”. oh no!! i pictured the horrible scene that you always hear about in movies… but luckily it was just a room where they use a metal detector wand and the guy feels you up everywhere.
after all that, we went on to another group of people who asked us more questions. the girl there asked me if i had been to any arab countries and when i said that i had been to syria, she looked all perplexed and asked me what for. i told her that it was to see the sights, and she responded with “syria has sights??”i wanted to respond by saying that no, there were no sights at all in syria, it was just a row of huts with terrorists hanging out inside, but i decided to keep my mouth shut. oh yeah, i and i forgot to mention, to make matter all the more interesting, when the guy talking to me found out i was russian, the rest of the interrogation was in russian. anyways, after al this we had to sit and wait for another 30 minutes, and finally left. on our way out, as predicted, a guy came up to us saying that our van had left, and our only way to get to tel aviv was to take his taxi. we told him to get lost, and walked on to get our van to tel aviv.
but much to our dismay, it wasn’t a scam. the van was gone. GONE. we were stranded at the border, and the van that we had paid 30$ each for wasnt there to take us any farther. the guy came up to us again and offered to take us to tel aviv for 20$ each. we were in no mood to pay that extra $$ so we walked away and decided to try and call the van company… but then realized that we had no phone and no shekels to buy a phone card with. we were sooooo pissed. we were able to exchange money and then spent another 10$ in phone cards calling the van company who told us that since we were “late” at the border crossing, the van just left and it was our fault. i tried to argue w/ the guy, but he really couldnt give a fuck less. he just kept repeating “you were late. you were late” until our card ran out.
so there we were. in the middle of butt nowhere. not near any towns. 60$ in the hole. thanks Amman. thanks a bunch. as if we hadnt dealt w/ enough bullshit, now this. so what to do? afew minutes later, a taxi pull up and offers to take us to the next town which is only 3 miles away for 12 dollars. 12 dollars!!! for 3 miles. what a ripoff. at this point, a nice lady on the side of the road started arguing w/ the cab driver saying he wasa ripping us off, but the guy didnt care at all. 12$ he insisted. luckily, someone else waiting for a ride told us that her ride would give us a lift to that nearby town. we soon were in the nearby town of ben shean. all we needed now was some cash to pay for bus fare. we go to the atm. out of order. great. this day was really going our way. then we went to the next atm. this one said that it couldnt give us money… and then promptly swallowed my atm card. oh. my. god. now what?
the bank was closed, and the guard told us that we could come back the following day at 8:30 to talk to someone about getting my card… but tomorrow we wont be in this town, we’ll be in tel aviv! ugh. so what will become of my card is still to be determined. eventually, we took two buses and got to tel aviv. it cost us about 20$ each. ugh. what a nightmare.
that’s about it for this post.. i’ll actually wriete about tel aviv tomorrow…