A bus full of colourful people departures from Tel Aviv heading to Eilat, 350km south from Tel Aviv, to approach the border with Jordan. This españolito and his traveling sleepy team is on that bus.
If I thought that the bus was full, I really have no idea about truck utilization. A second group of tourists coming from Jerusalem joins us at some point of the highway in the middle of the night, and then, yes, all together we manage to fill the bus completely. Cost optimization strategy from the tour operator? “Whatever… Today is going to be a great day”.
An American woman -from Dallas to the world- occupies the seat next to me, where my legs are stretching. She immediately offers me the possibility to exchange seats, but I am so tired that I just manage to get my body into a snail position and the snail falls asleep. Being trapped by Morpheus -among lambs, beeps and little angels-, I feel like my not-at-all-small-sized head is resting on her shoulder? I tend to think not but, honestly writing, I am not 100% sure…
After some minutes of sleep, and many more hours of zig-zag driving through the desert of Israel -the sensors of the bus never stopped beeping-, we know each other’s life quite well. I definitely love the variety of interesting and nice people that I am meeting in this crazy #roundtheworldtrip.
|Zig-zag driving through the desert of Israel|
We arrive to the border crossing point with Jordan. Let the show of passports, dollars, visa, never-ending security controls and toilette begin…
A different bus, full of the same colourful people -no one was deported-, is about to departure from the border of Jordan towards Petra, which is approximately 150km north from where we are.
Welcome to Jordan. Another American woman -from L.A. to the world- comes to me and asks me:
– May I sit down here next to you?
– Yes, of course. Immediately we start talking to each other, as if there would be no tomorrow…
With her permission, I will summarize her story briefly: She was born 86 years ago in Vienna (Austria). Before the World War II, when she was six years old, her family had to move to Palestine because of their religious beliefs (incredible but real). After the War, she returned to Germany to study medicine in Munich. I think she and her husband -also a doctor- stayed there almost ten years before they both moved to Los Angeles, where they developed their careers and had their own family. Nowadays, she just enjoys traveling by herself, rather than staying in her house in Beverly Hills. I am just amazed by what I am hearing…
– Yalla, yalla, habbibi! Suddenly, the tour guide starts shouting those words to the world; or to us… We believe that he is not talking about the weather, which by the way in Jordan is hot, dried and hot again… He might rather be saying something like:
– Come on my dears, hurry up! So, we (dears) follow him with a lot of excitement. Wearing my favourite t-shirt, my colourful sun glasses and a standard Indiana Jones hut, I walk together with my new group of friends: the friendly couple from Dallas, taking care of me and my unprotected skin and also video conferencing live at the same time with their daughter in Dallas, and with the forever-young woman from Los Angeles (a real role model for each and everyone of us).
In order to not get lost from the group, we were told “habbibi, habbibi, yalla, yalla” not to stop too much for taking pictures during the one-hour walk through the mountains of Petra. However, at our age, I am sure that my dearest surreal readers will imagine perfectly our reaction:
– Yes, yes, habbibi, habbibi… Do you want another picture?!
We see the golden camel! We see Al-Khazneh: the Treasury of Petra.
No words to describe it… WOW effect from the very first moment that, through the narrow last passage of the mountains of Petra, one starts seeing the temple carved out of sandstone rock.
Once being there, and actually also before and after, one has to use repeatedly the world-wide famous technique of “no thanks”. Kids, no kids, Pirates of the Caribbean -no kidding- and local people of all kinds, try to sell all types of souvenirs and services, but since I have been practicing that no-thanks technique so often in India last week, I feel pretty comfortable…
We are back in Tel-Aviv. My body is not exhausted, is over exhausted. But the feeling of having seen the impressive Treasury of Petra (one of the new Seven Wonders of the World) makes me forget any kind of tiredness. I decide to walk back to my hotel through the lively streets of Tel Aviv: “I feel good na na na na na…”
Big hug to Dallas and to Beverly Hills. I normally hate these kinds of guided tours, but what I am learning in this crazy #roundtheworldtrip is that the world is not only full of amazing places to visit, but also full of amazing people, worth sharing a tourist bus, and much more with…