For the first time in my life, I spent the night outdoors. No tent, no sleeping bag. Just my hood wrapped tight to my head while clutching my backpack in fear of midnight thieves. The Red Sea had light waves that would echo. There were beer bottles and trash everywhere but I found a nice clean patch of sand that looked habitable. It was definitely possible for me to get a room somewhere, but I decided that I wanted to conquer this rite of passage as a traveler. In order to prepare for this ordeal, I drank a 64 ounce bottle of beer. Instead of 40’s, they sell 64’s in Israel. It was a good idea because I woke up every once in a while to take a piss and make sure that I wasn’t murdered in my sleep.
Israeli borders are stricter than normal so they even had hours in which you could cross. From my recollection, the border between Israel and Jordan was open from 9AM to 8PM. I arrived a little too late the night before so this was the reason for my beach camp. What morning brought was absolute horror. My skin was covered in spots. At that point, I was sure that I contracted some crazy unknown disease by sleeping so close to the Red Sea. This cursed body of water inflicted me with a scourge that caused me to feverishly regret my decision to be bold. I fucked up.
Luckily, I later learned that they were just sand flea bites. Nothing major. Symptoms result in itchy spots that last a few days. I spent those days scratching myself like a meth addict.
The walk from the beach to the border was around 4 miles. By 10AM, the sun was bright while the chill of the morning swiftly changed. It became very apparent that I was in the middle of the desert.
Israel’s gateway into Jordan was as routine as other border crossings I’ve made before. My process was a little friendlier and easier to get through than the one I encountered in the airport. When I finished showing my documents and getting my belongings scanned, the process was repeated a short 50 feet away on the Jordanian side.
Exiting the building, there were a large group of taxis waiting with people yelling for my business. I ignored all of them and walked right by. Aqaba was only 10 miles away and for some reason, I was determined to walk. Within a mile, I heard a siren from a guard tower while someone fired off a shot. Screw that. I wasn’t looking to get shot so I stopped immediately. In the guard tower, a man started waving at me and told me to go back. Not in a mood to argue with someone with a sniper rifle, it seemed wise to go back. Reluctantly, my only choice was to take a cab where they knew I had no options. $50 Jordanian dollars which equaled $75 American. Instead of going to Aqaba and dealing with finding more transportation issues, this guy would take me all the way to Petra.
Through the ride, it was pretty civil and he even bought me a coke. When we got to Petra, the cab driver demanded a tip and became very offended when I pointed out that I paid $50 JOD for my ride. I asked if I could take his picture and he responded with “fuck you”.