Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ruby's Travel Log Day 1: Jordan

My boyfriend Tarek and I packed our bags about ten days ago and crossed through the Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian border controls into Jordan. As usual (and a little unfairly because I'm sure it is a country that has much to offer) Jordan was only a stopover on our way somewhere else.

I will regret saying where. There are so many people I didn't call (actually I didn't call anyone) because we decided it would only be us... Tarek and me... (and about 20-25 million others in the city).

I will regret saying which city, because I will make enemies out of friends, but since it's hopefully short-term (because I'm sure you all understand), I'll go ahead: we were on our way to Cairo.

Cairo. The city of pyramids, a thousand minarets, the oldest capital in the world, the home of the last existing wonder of the seven ancient wonders, the Great Pyramid of Khufu. Cairo Om el Donia. The mother of the world.

But first we had to wake up at 6 in the morning to get to the Allenby Bridge as early as we could. We weren't the only ones passing through Jordan that day; it was two days before Eid Al-Adha - the pilgrim holiday when millions and millions of Muslims from all over the world travel to Saudi Arabia to do their Hajj - and the bridge was packed.

As I've mentioned before, the only way out from the West Bank for Palestinians is through the Israeli-controlled Allenby Bridge over to Jordan. This is why Jordan becomes a stopover on our way somewhere else.

Anyway. For days and days, people had been turned back by the Israelis because they couldn't pass before the bridge closed at night (it's open from 8 am to 8 pm on weekdays, and from 8 am to noon on Fridays and Saturdays). So naturally, we were a little nervous.

But we got through all right in just around four hours (luck and useful contacts), went to Tarek's neighbor's sister's house for lunch, and then headed to the airport and Cairo.

The way to the airport in Amman is nice though. With families parking along the highway to barbecue under the trees that line the road. And camels in the back of trucks.

Photo courtesy of Tarek

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