Saturday, 28 May 2011

Chapter 64 Border lessons

It took five hours to cross from Amman to the West Bank. It took three and a half hours to exit Israeli customs at Allenby Bridge.

It took six hours to cross from the West Bank to Amman. Four hours to exit Jordanian customs and King Hussein Bridge.

'Isn't it meant to be quicker on the way out?' I hear you ask...

Yes it is.

'Isn't it generally totally uneventful and pretty easy?' I hear you continue...

Yes.. it is. It really really is.

Unless of course if your luggage is forgotten in no man's land by your Jordanian bus driver.

And Jordanian border officials refuse to let you back into no man's land because your passport's been stamped.

And the phrase "who's in charge here me or you?" gets thrown at you by a cranky head of border control after you refuse to accept the highly unlikely explanation that 'the next bus will get it'.

If that is also followed by finally being allowed back in no man's land only to end up back on the Israeli side where you have to tell your story for the 20th time so that you can re-enter Israel so that you can re-exit it to take another bus back to Jordan this time passing through the secure luggage unit to pick up your suitcase then your whole day's pretty much been eaten up.

And your dinner reservation with your family who you haven't seen in eight months where you will have sushi which you haven't eaten in eight months will have to be postponed.

So... a word to the wise: if you are Arab your suitcase will be taken from you to go through extra security checks. Ask about it all the time, make sure you are taken to pick it up and don't, under any circumstances, be fooled by the phrase 'It will be here soon - inshallah.'

Just thought I'd give you a heads up.

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