Tuesday, September 26

I'm the Lady!! (How not to get to Tel Aviv)

Some of you may remember and earlier story about Aimaan, one in which he started calling me Uncle Almost, because he could not remember my name. Well, apparently he has a knack for misunderstanding me.

As we were playing futbol in the courtyard at the back of Beit 'Araja, Aimaan kept complaining that the other kids were getting in his way while he was trying to play. I was quite a ways away from him, and I yelled to him "Aimaan! Stop complaining!"

He yelled back, "What did you say, Amu Jason? You're the lady?" He then laughed maniacally and proceeded to yell "Amu Jason's the lady!" for the next forty minutes. In addition, he went to every adult that was working that afternoon and told them that I was the lady. I wish, by the end of the day he was literally hoarse from yelling that I was the lady over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

If you are ever in Bethlehem and want to get a Visa from the Jordanian, do not ask Sarah and I for directions. Here is what we did yesterday.
Taxi from Beit 'Araja to the Wall for 12NIS
Arab bus from the Wall into Jerusalem 7NIS
Egged bus from Jaffa Rd in Jerusalem to the central bus station 11NIS
Egged bus from Jerusalem to Ramat Gan (a suburb of Tel Aviv) 34NIS
(by the way, we also got on the wrong bus, but the driver spoke English well enough and was kind enough to drop us near the Jordanian Embassy, where we were trying to go)

Walk to the Jordanian Embassy
Realize we need a picture for the visa application, walk around Ramat Gan trying to find a place to take it. 50NIS
Walk back to the Jordanian Embassy
Realize we don't have enough shekels on us, walk around Ramat Gan trying to find an ATM machine that accepts our American ATM card.
Walk back to the Jordanian Embassy
Acquire the visas!! (and pay for them, 370NIS)

Get directions to the central bus station from an Arabic speaking security guard.
Get lost.
Get directions from an English speaking banker.
Get lost.
Get directions to the train station from an English speaking security guard.
Find it! But have to ask two more people for directions to the bus station.
Find it! Board the bus for Jerusalem 30NIS

Arrive in Jerusalem, realize we're really not sure how to get back to the Old City to catch and Arab bus. Ask three security, guards in Arabic, one knows how to help us.
Get on the right bus!! Sit in traffic for 80 minutes in order to travel about 10 kilometers. 11NIS
Get on the Arab bus bound for the wall outside of Bethlehem. 7NIS
Take our place into the crush of people trying to get through the checkpoint. Make new friends and enemies.
One of our new friends offers us a ride back to Beit 'Araja in his 30 year old VW Beetle, we gladly accept and arrive safely at home. A mere 8 hours after leaving and only 45 minutes late for work.

Yes it was quite an adventure, and I am leaving out some of the oddities for the sake of brevity (I clearly failed). The point is, we now have our visas and on Thursday we will be visiting Dave and Susan Vila (and family) in Amman! Hopefully, our travel there will be less eventful and less expensive.

Jason and Sarah

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