25 September 2009

Border Crossings and Bureaucrats

So considering we were trying to get about 100 people out across the borders of Israel and Egypt during this trip, everything went relatively smoothly. I mean there was the 8 hours total of waiting in lines during the process, but still… we all got our things and ourselves across each of the borders. However, I never have understood why after getting the same acceptable answers from the 50 other people in our group ahead of me, they still always look at me suspiciously while they ask me… hmmmm. I saw a sign that said nuclear weapons were not allowed to cross the border… HOW COMFORTING. Haha I mean, it’s clearly a very popular souvenir to bring back from Egypt. Haha Seriously. Some things are VERY different over here, and I am easily amused. ☺
Both Egypt and Israel have about 5 or 6 different checkpoints within the border crossing. Why? Because the government has to make up jobs for the young men in their country. This is definitely way more the case for Egypt than it is for Israel… but still. Every village or town that the highway goes through, even across the Sinai desert, has its own checkpoints with 20-something-year-olds who get paid to stand guard, or sit and sleep guard rather. However, you can be sure that the guards always wake up when two buses full of 60 pretty American girls goes by… Very interesting. Very bureaucratic… haha
We crossed at the Taba Border, which is right along the Gulf of Aqaba, part of the Red Sea. SO BEAUTIFUL. So politically, the Sinai is part of Egypt, since the peace treaties with Israel in 1994 or something like that. However, geologically, the Sinai Peninsula is still apart of the Asiatic tectonic plate. But luckily for me, I spent a week on the geological and political part of Africa, so it is official that I have been there. Check. Haha Though it is definitely a part of the Middle Eastern culture rather than African culture. I guess I’ll just have to go back. ☺

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