Palestine and it’s people have left a mark
As with the way in, you need to give yourself plenty of time to get out of Palestine, across the Allenby Bridge and back to the airport to catch your flight, whether that is out of Tel Aviv or Amman.
But the morning was a last chance to speak to a couple of the organisations i am mentoring, but it was very quickly time to get in the cab and head for the Allenby Bridge crossing. My taxi driver was a friendly guy and I was quite happy that he decided to leave me to my thoughts as an amazing, busy week was coming to an end. I did manage to take a quick snap of his improvised hands free approach though. If you look at the picture, you can see that he has basically put the phone on speaker and then wedged it in the space between the top of the steering wheel and the middle. Genius I thought!!
The trip to the bridge was uneventful but as we waited to cross into Israeli territory I was asked a question I have never been asked before. The young border guard in jeans and t shirt and semi automatic weapon was checking under the car for devices and the driver had got out to open the boot, slightly opening my window beforehand. The border guard approached my window and asked for my passport, took it from through the window and as he handed it back said ‘ so Barry, do you have any weapons on you today?’ I obviously answered no and we went through. At the time, I did however wonder if anyone has said yes to that question? And it wasn’t until much later on that I figured I guess there’s probably quite a lot of military and security personnel that have to answer yes to that question. Surreal.
Getting out as I am sure you can appreciate is a much easier affair than getting in. You just have to pay the exit tax an then get on the right bus. There isn’t any real help at this stage and it’s only because I wondered outside to try and find my bag, that a young attendant came over and put it on the right bus for me! This then takes you back across the Allenby Bridge into Jordan. Make sure you get your exit stamp. Then you either walk out or more than likely you will get accosted by a guy offering taxis to get you where you are going. As the price he offered (30JD) was below what I had been told it would be, I said I’m in and 5 minutes later was in a battered Nissan sunny on my way to Amman airport.
Except 3 minutes later we had pulled over and my initial driver got out. I was just slightly worried as we had kind of pulled over in the middle of nowhwere! I wasn’t quite sure what was happening but turns out I wasn’t changing cars, my driver was. In jumped my new driver Farir and we were on our way. Farir loved chart music and smoking. He also started teaching me Arabic on the way too. Most of which is the kind of language you might not want your kids to use!! I arrived quite early at the airport but as it was still Ramadan was quite happy to spend a couple hours online in the Starbucks, with a coffee, just because I could!!