A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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Crossing Jordan

“Why have you come here?  You were turned away at the King Hussein Bridge Crossing, and now you are here.  Do you think we are stupid? We don’t know?”

It was hard to turn away from the scene unfolding in front of us.  The young Arab woman began to beg the Israeli security officer to reconsider — but the officer was having none of it.  She said: “You have been told you cannot enter Israel.  You must go back to Jordan.”

Over the previous ten months we had made dozens of border crossings. Every single one was routine.  More than once border officials barely looked at our passports.  Entering Israel, it seemed, was another matter.


Thirty-six hours earlier we had landed at Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport after an eight hour flight from Delhi. The quiet efficiency of Amman’s airport contrasted sharply with the chaos of Delhi.

After we had collected our luggage we made our way to the airport exit.  “Welcome to Jordan. Go in peace,” the security guard said as he waved us through with barely a second look.

We had flown to Jordan to travel Israel to visit friends.  Our OneWorld RTW tickets got us as close as Amman.  We planned to spend the night there, then travel overland to Israel.

The Jordanian-Israeli border opened to tourists in 1994.

I have to admit I had reservations about traveling to Israel, particularly after their election brought Benjamin Netanyahu back to power.  In the weeks after the Israeli election, Netanyahu did not sound like a man eager to restart the Middle East peace process.

As our cab left the Amman airport we saw a vivid reminder we were in another part of the world: A sign that said “Iraqi Border – 355 km.”  Somehow, I never imagined driving past a sign like that with my children in the car.

Once we settled in our hotel in Amman, we began to explore our options for getting to the Israeli border.  There are three border crossings open to tourists, and our friends wanted us to meet them at the Sheik Hussein Bridge (as opposed to the King Hussein Bridge).

There were several travel agencies near our hotel, so Dani and I went to inquire about a bus from Amman to Nazareth that we had read about.

We walked in the first travel agency we saw.  A young woman greeted us, and I asked her: “Do you know anything about a bus from Amman to Nazareth – I think it is run by Trust Transport?”

The woman looked confused, then concerned: “You want to travel to Israel?

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June 1, 2009   3 Comments

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