Soon we made some small talk with the local Jordanians; the man was wearing the traditional headress (think Saudi king style), a long white robe and had a massive beard. In rudimentary english he asked us where we were from, if we were married (one day we said, but I think he interpreted 'yes'), and do we like Allah? He kept talking on his cellphone, and I think he was talking to someone who spoke english so they were translating a bit for him. He asked, "Baby?", "No, no, no Students!" we responded. When he asked about Allah we broached the subject tenderly... we were not sure if 'agnostic' translated. All and all it was an interesting ride. From what we interpreted of the conversation he was taking his little sister to visit his wife and baby in the hospitable. The funny thing about the ride is that he kept gesturing to the Spanish couple, "We don't like...not married." I dressed very conservatively for the bus ride, while the girl was wearing a sari exposing her entire leg and canoodling with her BF. The thing about Arab countries is number one: you have to dress conservative. The Jordanian women always wear the veil or the hajib or chador (black material covering everything except your eyes). Our Jordanian friend asked me, "You like the veil? You wear?" All I could do was laugh, thinking I might pass out if I wore that in this heat!
When we got off the bus, us foreigners stuck together. Instead of a bus station we were left on a roundabout island in the middle of the highway. After a moment, collecting our thoughts and looking around we were encircled by a group of men who had taxis waiting for us. "My friend! This way! I make you a deal!" Since beginning our travels we have had enough of cab drivers cutting us a 'deal' so we all loked at eachother and attempted to fnd out where we were. Jack and I were heading to a northern border crossing, so we left the others to fend for themselves and began walking. After a busride, a cab ride and finally another bus ride we reached a town where another cabbie cut us a deal to take us to the border as no buses ran there.
After a long and arduous day we arrived at the border where we discovered we had to pay another cabbie to drive us across the border (to our chagrin), and a bus to drive us 200 metres. When we arrived at the Israeli side, we were searched rigourously and questioned (likely due to Jacks out of control beard and having been in an arab country). We finally made it out alive and started walking. Luckily we hitched a ride and found a decent accomodation (although we literally slept in a janitors closet with a bathroom) for cheap, but the hotel had a pool! and my favorite thing...in the courtyard there was a 'Kitten!'
All is well that ends well in Beit Shean, the city we stayed in. We regrouped and prepared for our next adventure!
P.S I wanted to include a picture of King Abdullah II of Jordan as he is everwhere (a la Ataturk). On the backs of buses, in car windows, blown up photos adorn shops and homes. To find out more visit his official website here. My favorite pic in particular was one of him in army fatigues aiming a rifle on the back of a truck...priceless! Imagine a picture of Stephen Harper (our Canadian Prime Ministers for everyone out there taht might not know) like that! Hahahahaha!
Upon further research I discovered that Abdullah II stared in an episode of Star Trek: Voyageur while still prince....this is Priceless!