Amman, Jordan to Jerusalem, Israel, January 2, 2023
I had a terrible night. I kept waking up because of dreams of missing the bus to Jerusalem in the morning. I also had a 2 hour sleep yesterday afternoon and I didn’t get any exercise either. What a difference that makes to a good night’s sleep.
So, I was awake before 5 - I certainly didn’t need an alarm and I was in a cab before 6. The bus depot was only about 15 minutes away and I bought my ticket no problem. The bus was about half an hour late which was ok because the depot was warm. Soon we were on the road - me with my big blue backpack and the box containing my tent, sleeping bag, roll mat, small backpack and liner. So the but took us to the Jordanian border. We went in with our stuff, filled out a form, paid the exit tax which was $19 and left our passport with the worker. We were told to go outside and get on the bus and luckily for me there was one seat left. They wait until p they fill the coach before they go so it could have been a long wait. Total Jordanian costs: $76 to get in, $21 for the bus then $18 for the shuttle from the bus through no man’s land, and $22 for the shuttle to Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. That’s $156 just on entrance/exit fees and transport. Jeepers!
We had to show our passport a couple of times once through Jordan and then we got to Israel. We had to get our luggage tagged just like at an airport, go through security and passport control, pick up our luggage and then try to get to Jerusalem. I got on a shuttle with a family from Japan and we waited and waited for the small bus to fill up. One man came along, then a woman with a baby and finally we decided to all chip in to purchase the last seat so we could leave. We had already been waiting an hour.
It took about 45 minutes to get to Damascus Gate which is near old town Jerusalem. It was raining, I didn’t have any shekels so I couldn’t take a cab so I walked the mile to the hostel carrying the big box of camping gear and my backpack. I made it in a sweat and then learned I couldn’t check in for a couple of hours so I taped the box up to get it ready to post and then discovered the sleeping bag was on the couch behind me! So, I cut the box open and retaped. Frick! Then came the hard part - finding a post office. Luckily it wasn’t far away but what a gong show there. You’re supposed to make an appointment and for that you need a phone number which I don’t have. So, I approached a window and got growled at - Israelis are not friendly! The grump wrote a number on a paper for me and then the waiting began. It took at least 30 minutes until my number was called but then the shipping process was easy and my camping gear is now on its way to home!
I returned to the hostal to check in. There were already 3 in my room but I scored a bottom bunk! That made my day! Let the young ones sleep on top! I decided it was far to early to stay in the room so I went walking. Wow! What a place! I saw more in a couple hours than I saw for 2 months in the Gulf. And that’s another thing- I wasn’t travelling in the Middle East but in the Gulf. Fine with me - call it what you like!
So I went walking along Jaffa street which is a commercial street with electric trams. There were lots of shops but what ugly clothes! They look a lot like things Hutterites would wear. Dull and boring colours. I kept walking and came to the Old Town. Wow! Unfortunately I know nothing about Jerusalem or its politics. I have 4 tours booked in the next 3 days so I’m hoping I won’t be so ignorant once they’re finished.
So Arabic is finished and now it’s Hebrew-