Entry Info

5th (Sun)
Dec 2010

[day149] Departure from the Middle East

5 days in total I stayed in Jerusalem. Time was going by super quickly when I was walking around the old town and eating out at the new town. I could've visited the other cities such as Gaza and Bethlehem but so delicious were the meals at the new town's Jewish area that I just stayed at Jerusalem. Although they are certainly not typical local foods- hamburgers, salads etc.-, somehow they went very well with my taste. It was absolutely the best until this time and probably one of the top 5 delicious cities over this whole trip. If you are going to Jerusalem, don't eat kebabs only. You should as well try decent bars and restaurants at the new town. Jewish quality is a kind of eye opener.

The next flight was going to Lisbon via Frankfurt by Lufthansa, leaving on the early Saturday morning. The reason why I chose the transit at Frankfurt was of course the first class lounge (it's not the terminal this time), but I'll save this story for the next entry. The issue here is the flight time, Saturday morning. In fact I hadn't realised this until arriving at Jerusalem though due to the Jewish weekends, all public transportation in Israel is almost paralysed on Friday and Saturday. According to the timetable, it looked like I had to leave there early Friday morning otherwise the next bus would be on Sunday.

Since I didn't want to waste a whole day at the airport (and worry about oversleeping), I asked to the hostel's owner for other solutions and he answered "No worries. We are Muslims and don't care about Jewish weekends. We can organise a shuttle bus on Friday. What time do you want to leave?" Oh fantastic! I told him "the latest one" and it was leaving at 20:00. Well, late enough. Although I missed the peak of the Friday gathering in front of the Western Wall, which is very famous for its divine atmosphere, anyway I could observe people start chanting. I hope to watch the whole process if I have a chance to visit here again.

After picking up the passengers, the bus made its headway to the Tel Aviv airport. The bus driver was quite typical of this trip, a speed demon. Though I couldn't see the meter, he was driving recklessly on the passing line and overtaking a number of vehicles. Besides, in case of being overtaken, he automatically tried to defeat the rival again. In general, independent bus drivers are always aggressive.

Thanks to the hard effort of the driver, the bus arrived at the airport just after 21:00. Considering the time spent for picking up the other passengers, it took no less than an hour, even though it had taken more than an hour from the bus terminal to the other when I'd come from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, my flight time wouldn't become earlier no matter how early I arrived at the airport. I had to wait until 3 a.m. for the check in. Well, I'm actually quite good at spending time; providing a decent bench and electricity I could turn on my laptop and 6 hours wouldn't be too long to edit my blog and photos, except for being casually questioned by the guard.

The departure gate was milder than the arrival gate. When I submitted my passport, the officer asked me "Why you don't have the stamp?" "I didn't mind getting the stamp but the other officer sent me to a different room and gave me the paper for the stamp!" replied I half angrily. The officer didn't respond at all, saying "uhhh, O.K." he let me through the gate. No departure stamps. I just assume that if I'd answered him "because I want to go to the other Middle East countries", he would've given me the stamp with a big smile. There are no records of entering Israel on my passport and quite a few people envy me for it. But I have very hazy feeling about it.

Anyway, this was the last day of my Middle East trip. Since I visited Dubai in the middle of February (despite sidetracking to Europe) those 90 days were full of new experience, notice, and meetings. Despite the international political reports, this area was absolutely safe and welcoming. Avoiding the real conflicting area, such as Iraq at this moment, I'd like to recommend world travellers to visit here. I can assure you that you can find a lot of new aspects of values.

Well, next is a train trip in Europe!

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In order to present well organised articles, this blog is not updated on real time base. (You can find "Entry Info" on the left panel, "updated on" and "travelled on") Regarding to the current information about me, please follow satoshionoda_e on twitter. I'm tweeting almost every day.

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