If it is a 6am wake up call, then it must be our border crossing day! With the the first openings at 8am, we were up early and moving out to ensure that we got across from Jordan and into the West Bank as early as we could given the possible (which in our case turned into definite) delays. We have been discussing what events or sights have been the most meaningful to people based on their different discinplines and interests. With my International Relations background, where others may have found the process tedious or aggravating, objectively observing the whole event was a fascinating experience for me.
On the Jordanian side, we went through an interesting diplomatic dance which worked out in the end with an expedited trip via the VIP lounge. After clearing multiple additional checkpoints, our arrival on the other side was not so expedited. After a long while in line, most of us were asked simple or no questions at the first passport checkpoint and given a sticker on our passport with a number checked which indicated no issues with our case. However, the two in our party with different backgrounds (Sarah, an American citizen whose family roots are in Pakistan, and one of our guides, a German citizen whose family came there from Iran) were flagged for further questioning. After clearing the bag scan and metal detector cleanly (except for Kara in her metal detector aggravating boots), Sarah and the guide were questioned, then given back their passports which had been taken away at the time, before being passed on to the final passport clearance. The rest of the group cleared this with no problems, but had to wait on the other side while they filled out a form and waited to answer more possible questions. Everyone made it through fine, and as by this point it was past 11:30am we were ready to get on with the rest of our day in the West Bank and initial overview of Jerusalem before settling in this evening in Bethlehem.
Overall, given my poor “sense of direction” that I posted about before, having such a level of expertise from our guides was very helpful and I am grateful not to have needed to tackle the “controlled chaos” (as some of us termed it) alone.