Kings are not Sheiks!!
I am back in Jerusalem now. Actually, I am writing to you
From a kibbutz. In my last email, “The holiest city in the world”, I was
referring to Jerusalem even though the content of the email was about
Gaza. If Gaza City were the holiest place in the world, we would be
living in hell.
I learned a very important lesson in Arabic recently. Last Tuesday, I
set off to go to Amman, Jordan. When I called the Jordanian Embassy in
Tel Aviv, they said the visa is cheaper to by at the border at the
Sheik Hussein bridge. Well, my guide book was written in 1996, and
only had one bridge listed, the Al Malek Hussein (KingHussein)/Allenby
Bridge. I just assumed, that the word Sheik in Arabic meant king!! Oh my,
I was in for my first Arabic lesson.
When I arrived at the border at 6pm, I changed my money, paid the exit
tax and got a very big surprise. At the passport window, there was a
sign “NO exit without a visa”. When I told them that the Jordanian
embassy told me that I could buy the visa at the border, the Israeli
border control informed me that I was at the wrong Hussein bridge. The
Sheik Hussein one, in the north near Tiberias, was the right one. SO i
had to take a cab to the main road and stand on the road for about 40
minutes at the bus stop waiting for the bus. It was totally dark. To keep
myself amused, I stared singing all sorts of songs, “Guantanamera”, etc. I tried hitchhiking, but the only car that stopped was not going
to where I needed to go. On the bus, the Israeli passengers recommended that I
not go to the border that night, because there might not be any taxis on
the other side to take me to Amman. A nice Israeli man lent me his mobile phone to call my friend Osama’s parents in Amman to tell them I was delayed and would not arrive until the following day. So, instead, I took the bus to
Tiberias, and spent the night in this lake side resort. The next
morning, I got to the border and a very nice Scottish man gave me a
ride to Jordan University where I was supposed to meet my friend’s
When I was standing on the road, I was actually quite amused, I don’t
think I would have felt so safe in the Us doing the same thing. I also
did not even imagine the beauty that I would soon see at Petra.
Petra was built before Christ. It is a city built into stone. Imagine a
smaller version of the Grand Canyon, with Greek and Roman-like
buildings exquisitely carved into the rock. This was one of the most
incredible things I have ever seen in my life.