Crossing the Border

Trip Start Mar 21, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed

Flag of Jordan  ,
Saturday, March 15, 2008

Leaving the truck, I paid the driver and jumped on a bus into the center of Amman, the capital of Jordan, where I would stay only one night before crossing the border across the West Bank into Jerusalem. One night was enough to walk around the old center of the city and sample some of the kebab and sweet cheesse desserts on the streets.

In the morning, I left for the King Hussein/Allenby border on a bus, thinking it would take some time to enter. Because of my passport full of visits to the 'stans plus Syria, I ended up being one of three people remaining at the end of the day, at closing time. Hundreds of other people had gone through easily, as the three of us watched.

The other two were a Norwegian woman and a Palestinian man. The Norwegian woman had visited Lebanon for four months and the Palestinian man was...

Making sure the borders are secure is fine, and I was prepared to wait. Everyone also had to pass through a high-tech gate, which we figured was able to detect small particles of explosives, biological weapons, or drugs. The gate sprayed air at everyone as the winced.

At the end of the day, they held the Norwegian woman past closing time. I wasn't sure she was going to come through. Later, though, I saw her in Jerusalem. She would be working in the West Bank, helping Palestinians.

The border was in the Dead Sea basin, split by a rift that extends down the Red Sea and into Africa, continents violently split apart. To reach Jerusalem, our shuttle had to ascend from the lowest depression on earth to the high point on the escarpment, where the legendary Foundation Rock can be found: the center of the world (of course), the place of Adam and Eve, the sacrificial rock of Abraham and Isaac, where Mohammad ascended to heaven, and the location of Solomon's Temple.
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