October 3, 2015 – We are into our fifth day of travel and are on our way to Jerusalem. We left the hotel at 8:00am, stopping at a sign showing us the Dead Sea. Once we arrived at the Jordanian Passport control, Peter gathered our passports in order to get bus tickets and Jordanian stamps and then it was on our way to the Israeli Passport center. We sat on the bus for a bit of time, but that time was nothing as compared to the next four lines we would be standing in. The first line was to get the luggage tag and put our luggage on the
conveyor belt. Easier said than done with a lot of jostling and luggage carriers getting intertwined and people pushing ahead of others. We later observed that the lack of organization outside the Israeli Passport Center may be on purpose. Once that tag was attached, then it was on to stand in line to make sure we had the proper luggage tag before we went on to the security line. The next line was the security line where we put our smaller bags and purses on the conveyor belt and then walked through the security. Seven of us stuck together because one member of our group had to be “inspected”. They kept her waiting for at least 30 or 40 minutes with Peter overseeing the process.
Once that was done, we proceeded to the visa line where the possible dreaded question, “Why did you go to Lebanon?” might be asked. One of the security people miraculously arrived to speed us through a special line that had been opened especially for us. I had to wonder about the special treatment. I thought at first they were being nice, but there were several instances that I noticed people being ignored, yelled at, put to the back of the line, made to show unnecessarily what they had in their luggage. One more line; the luggage line, however, the rest of our group was kind enough to get our luggage for us while we were waiting in the visa line. When Peter arrived after being made to sit for an hour while his passport was analyzed, we left in our van for Jerusalem and the Legacy Hotel. Truly, an exercise in patience, humility and up close and personal encounter of how other people are treated who are not of the “correct” culture.