Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Day 3 (Part 2): To Israel via Allenby Bridge

After Bethany Beyond Jordan, our next destination was to go into Israel via Allenby Bridge.

We left the border at Jordan and moved towards the border of Israel. The security was very tight. We are not allowed to take any photographs. Which make sense.

There were easily 5-6 buses waiting in queue. It was about 11am.

It took almost 1.5 hours just to get to our turn to unload from the bus. All of us were required to take our baggage out of the bus to be "checked in" to the Israeli immigration. There are two check-in counters. After our baggage were "checked in", we had to go through a metal detector machine - belts, handbag, watch and all metal things off.

When it came my turn, the metal detector went off 'teet teet teet". I took out everything including my earrings but it still beeped. Oh no. I was nervous. The officer pointed to my bra. I think she was trying to ask if I had an under wired bra. I said, "Yes". She asked me to wait at the other side. I almost freaked! Strip search? I have heard so much stories about problems at immigrations that I am about horrified. Already.

I prayed. And prayed. And prayed.

Suddenly it occurred to me to take out my heat pack which I used on my back. So, I summed up my courage and told the Officer that this might be the problem. Voila! No beeping sound!!! I was so relieved that I could jump for joy but must remain cool.... Don't bring any attention to myself... No strip search. Phew! My lucky day.

Now all I have to do it quene up, get the approval, DON'T get a chop on my passport and EVERYTHING will be fine.

We have 4 Malaysians and 29 Singaporeans. Most of us DOES NOT want an Israeli chop in our passport due to the difficulty of entrance into Arab countries e.g. Dubai. As for the Malaysians, the obvious reason. So, the Officer chopped on a piece of paper which we have to return at the check out counter.

If it wasn't enough, I was stopped AGAIN. An Israeli officer told me to take out whatever I had in my pocket. It was just a hair pin. He scraped it with a piece of cotton and put it into a machine. The results came out in a piece of paper. After that, he told me that I could leave. Relieved.

I was so curious what the procedure was all about that I asked him, "Why did you do that?"
*feeling stupidly brave*. He answered briefly, "Security reasons". I silently thought that he was going to push my head to the floor and handcuff me... Such vivid imagination. Thanks to all the spy movies I frequent *sigh*.

I was randomly chosen. Me, again? Do I have, "Lack of Attention" written on my forehead??! Let me check through my photographs for the trip. Maybe I do.

By the time the whole group finished passing through the Immigration, it was almost 2pm. What do you know, 3 hours!!! Most of us were starving. Way pass lunch time.

Immigration at Israeli side

Our tour bus was already waiting for us, the bus driver, Ibrahim told me that they waited for 5 hours. Since 9am. Poor thing.

Temptation Restaurant, Jericho. Where we had our lunch at almost 3pm. The guy in blue is our tour guide, Sudqi Hawash. Since the microphone in the bus didn't work, he had to scream most of the time... He kept saying, "I am going to loose my voice". He really loved to talk.

Glorious food! Glorious food!

Look at how large this orange is!

I had my best meal in this restaurant. Burp!

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JO-N said...

Phew, that was close. I remembered my parents and siblings's vacation to Bali and my brother was stopped twice at the airport too.

sangeeta said...

hi there, i would like to go into israel for a visit, can u advise me?