Crossing the border from Aqaba to Eilat wasn’t very complicated apart from the extremely unpleasant passport control girl who questioned why I had come back to Israel “I can see you were here in 2010, why are you back?” and stamped my mother’s passport on purpose before she had the time to say anything, even though I had made it clear that we didn’t want her to because we would be travelling to other places together, possibly Muslim countries. “What’s the problem?” she asked, pretending to not know that her country has lousy diplomatic relations, and that some countries won’t let you in if it bears the Israeli stamp.. Anyway, there wasn’t much to do other than getting the documents and leaving as soon as possible before they came up with anything else.. you’re never in power in a border crossing and I bet these teenage girls laugh by the end of the day about how many passports they stamped just to mess with people. “Welcome to Israel” I told my mother, “good thing we already visited Kuala Lumpur, no?” She had just gotten a new passport.
Eilat was sunny and warm, and we took a walk around town before hopping on the bus to Jerusalem. It took about 5 hours and it was a very nice drive through the desert, passing the dead sea, passing hundreds of kibbutzes and big factories, and further onward on a fresh beautiful highway cutting straight through Palestine from the south-east to Jerusalem. We arrived in Jerusalem in the evening and checked in to our hotel. We first got a room that smelled of cat piss, so my mom worked her magic and got us upgraded to a beautiful room on the third floor with a view over the old city and the dome of the rock, we were going to spend the coming three nights here so it was perfect.
Next morning, we met with Noam! I was happy to see him again after so many years and we spent the day walking around Jerusalem and showing my mother some of the sights that she wanted to see. In the afternoon, Noam invited us over for dinner in his home in Tel Aviv, but that’s tomorrow’s story. :)