Tuesday, April 13, 2004

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

I am writing this from the Petra Internet Cafe in Petra, Jordan. Bernt and I arrived here at eight o'clock this morning after a four hour bus ride from Jerusalem to Eilat at the Dead Sea, where we arrived at four o'clock in the morning and spent two hours camped out on someone's front porch waiting for the border to open.

At the border, exhausted, we talked with the Jordanian border gaurds while we waited for a taxi to take us to Aqaba, from where we would catch a sherut to Petra. The border gaurds were friendly and funny. They asked us where we were from, and when Bernt said "Germany," the younger one smiled and said, 'Oh yes! Germany. Hitler!" Which I found hilarious.

Everybody we've met so far has been like those gaurds, so friendly, conversational, interested. Who are we? Where are we from? First time to Jordan? Welcome! We've gotten a free place to stay, free rides, free coffee and tea--the Bedouins being perhaps the most welcoming and hospitable people on Earth. I really like it here. The streets are clean (cleaner than Israel), everyone is polite and helpful. At the coffee shop we just came from we had two waiters--one who worked there, and one fellow patron who translated for him.

As for Petra itself--that will have to wait until tomorrow. I am too tired to do it justice.

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