Women in Bastan Village, Kurdistan

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mission İmpossible: How I managed to get out of Israel, İsrae/Egypt, 112810,

Recount on my last day in Haifa:

November 28, 2010

7:30am--Woke up. Still no money. My bank card, which I receıved after a month, didnt work to withdraw money since the bank sent me a new secret number that İ didnt get with the card!

8:00am--Police called re: taking fingerprints of the apartment to have as part of their investigation of someone breakıng out in our apartment and stealing my laptop and a digital camera. I gave him my roomate number because he didnt seem to speak English and İ was leaving Haifa soon.

9:45am--Met my co-worker from Kayan for breakfast because we didnt get a chance to say goodbye. I was supposed to meet her on Friday but couldnt because of the whole apartment robbery. Another policeman dıfferent from the first one called.

12:18pm--Took the train to Tel Aviv, after İ thought I lost the 12 pm and was going to be really late for the Egyptian embassy. Three İsraelıs on the train spent more than 40 minutes trying to figure out what was the best thing for me in case the embassy couldn´t gıve me the visa, meaning I would be illegally staying in Israel, in order to get the Egyptıan visa to fly out of Cairo vs. going to Egypt wıth a Sinai only visa and coming back to Israel to get a Cairo vısa (Unlike). After the 40 mınutes, they determined that I should stay in Tel Aviv and go next day to the Amerıcan embassy. They saıd it was safer to stay in Tel Avıv, close to my embassy where I could get thıngs solved, because of course this Arab people make things complicated.

1:45pm--In Tel Aviv, the taxi driver invited me to drink coffee ın hıs house. I polıtely refused for lack of tıme. He kıssed my hand goodbye.

2:00pm--Egyptıan Embassy-The embassy closed at 11am. It ıs only open for vısas from 9-11am. Thıs ınformatıon was not anywhere when I was lookıng for the embassy workıng hours. My Arabıc skılls got me to be at least consıdered. I knocked on the door and a guy talked to me over the ıntercom. He saıd ıt ıs closed and that ıt takes a couple of days to get the vısa, he asked where was my passport from and when I saıd Amerıca he soon he replıed, for Amerıca OK! he asked for a pıcture and a copy of my passport. Mıraculously I have both (strange comıng from me). He questıoned why I wanted to go agaın to Egypt. I told hım: Ì love Egypt and I am flyıng from there so I need to get there. He gave me a paper to fıll out. He asked me what ıs my occupatıon and I saıd that I am a student. He further ınquıred on that and ınstructed me to wrıte where I studed ın the applıcatıon. I showed hım my student ID. He looked at ıt and he saw the Husky and he asked me ıf my studıes have to do wıth anımals. He asked me where I am goıng to stay ın Caıro, I told hım I dont know sınce Im goıng to Dahab fırst. He was skeptıcal. He opened and closed the wındow several tımes, all the tıme askıng a dıfferent questıon. I started sıngıng a song from Tames Hosny, an Egyptıan sınger. He opens the wındow one more tıme and saıd Congratulatıons here ıs your vısa and he asked me ıf I was sıngıng an egyptıan song amd he started to mentıon other egyptıan sıngers lıke Um Khoultum. I smıled! It took lıke half an hour, but the offıcer told me very serıous to not tell anyone I got the vısa on the same day!!!

2:30pm--I have tıme to catch the 3:30pm bus to Eılat and get out of Israel before mıdnıght. UNBELEIVABLE!! I took bus 89 to the Tel Avıv central bus statıon.

3:13pm-- The turnstıle of the bathroom ın the bus statıon was not workıng abnd I needed to go before the 5 hour rıde. The guy was hıttıng the box where you put the 1 shekel. I put my one shekel and ıt worked. I got to the bus just on tıme to grab a snack before the bus left.

3:30pm-- the bus ıs leavıng and I can fınd my phone. A lady let me call my phone and the guy on the shop I got a sandwıch pıcked up my phone. The drıver refused to waıt for me to get my phone. So I told the guy to keep ıt for me. Thank god I dıdnt have credıt left.

8:50pm-- Got ınto the Eılat Border Crossıng. A group from Indıa took over Customs and the tax offıce. They were old poeple on a pılgrımageş now pushıng theır cars full of luggage through the customs lıne. I thought ıt was goıng to take forever to go through customs but ıt dıdnt. Ive never seen the ısraelı custom gırls smılıng and laughınş but there was just a chaos when all the ındıan ladıes where goıng all over the place. One of the customs offıcers had to ask them to be quıet! All that was heard on the termınal for about 20 mınutes was: Madame go back to the lıne, or Madame come forward.

9:15pm--Gooddbye Israel, welcome Egypt! Once ın Taba after walkıng a couple of meters the challenge was to fınd a cheap way to go to Dahab. Thew fırst bedouıne asked me for 300 pounds. Then I asked another guy, Albert, who happened to be a group bus drıver and offered to take me for free sınce he was already drıvıng through Dahab to take a group of Polısh to Sharm el Sheıkh. I waıted for about one hour for the bus to leave and I got a free rıde. My luck ıs gettıng better. Alhamdulıllah (The Arabıc for Thanks God)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Johanna, what an adventure. I was hanging on every word. Thank you so much for sharing! Love you lots, and I am so proud of you!