We crossed the border at Elat, the south-most point of Israel.
Crossing the checkpoint was barrels of fun. Because the Muslims in Egypt have such an endearing love the Israelis, we were compelled to get off the bus and lug all our bags into the customs/visa/whatever building. After standing in an un-airconditioned line for a few minutes and looking at our papers and xraying our bags (heaven forbid we bring bombs into Israel), they let us walk out the back door. It was about 200 feet to the Israel building. But not before…
“Bwala al-harqa din.”
“Mousafa bin al-hara!”
“I’m sorry. You need to see my bag?”
“.. .. where are you from?”
“It’s ok. Passport please.”
Once we got into the Israeli (air-conditioned) customs building, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief! The thought of clean bathrooms and being able to drink the water does wonders for one’s disposition.
And if you didn’t catch it when I mentioned it before – if you have any desire to enter an Islamic country, make sure you don’t have an Israeli stamp in your passport. Chances are good the Islamic country won’t let you in. You’ll need to get a new passport. Sheesh!
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Gulf of Aqaba, part of the Red Sea. Nice, clear water. That’s the Israeli checkpoint on the far right.
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Our first stop was a brief one at the place Solomon’s Quarries. I think he got the rocks for the temple from here. It’s only about 150 miles from Jerusalem. The pyramid builders could have learned a thing from Solomon, eh? Then King Solomon raised up a labor force out of all Israel – and the labor force was thirty thousand men . . . Solomon selected seventy thousand men to bear burdens, eighty thousand to quarry stone in the mountains, and three thousand six hundred to oversee them. (; ).
And the temple, when it was being built, was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built. ()
There was a sign pointing to a trail that would take you to some inscription by some Egyptian or something. I figured I’d give the Egyptian thing a shot since it was up a steep hill and kinda inacessible-looking. Ah-ha! An adventure!Thar she blows.
Hmmm.If you look, you can see .. umm .. some kind of vertical chicken scratch on the left. The sign said it’s an inscription showing Pharoah doing something. Probably sitting. Pharoahs liked to sit. I’m thinking this particular hieroglyphist ..uh.. had poor spelling or maybe it was just some graffiti put up by some Egyptian gangstas waay back then. So much for the road less traveled.
Might as well take advantage of the opportunity and take a cool photo.This location is about 150′ up the mountain and about 30 feet away from the “cool” Egyptian carving.
We continued northward and spent the night at a hotel in Ein Gedi, on the shore of the Dead Sea. The bellmen working the front drive had pistols on their hips while unloading our bags. I couldn’t tell what kind of guns they were, but they were a lot larger than my .9mm Taurus. I figure they were .45s.