Monday, May 25, 2015

That one time I trespassed next to the Jordan Border

**I can only receive iMessages if they are sent to my personal email address not my American phone number, so if you have been texting me and not getting a response I am not dead, I just didn't receive them.

On Friday morning Kate and I headed to northern Israel. On the way we stopped in Haifa, an coastal town with a cute downtown and a breathtaking Baha'i garden.  There we learned Israeli men can be VERY persistent.  One man circled the area we were in and drove past us 3 times over about a period 15-20 minutes, each time honking and staring at us as if he hadn't eaten in days and we were juicy steak.  Traveling as women without a male around can be very upsetting.

Okay now to the part you all are interested in: how I got to the Jordan border.  On Friday night when Kate and I were getting ready for bed one of the Hostel workers, Hadrian, told us they were going to go to a secret hot springs then to a Kibbutz for beer.  We had been told about the tour earlier in the day but were both exhausted so we declined.  Then another, Omar, came in to tell us they were leaving in 10 and that its an experience like no other and blah blah blah.  This time we were convinced and agreed to go on the condition that we drive separately so we can skip the drinking part.  Omar told us it was only 20 minutes away near the Jordanian border and we would stay about 40 minutes.

More than 20 minutes into the drive, I looked to our right and saw a huge fence.  I told Kate I thought it was the Jordan border.  It turns out I was right, we were driving along the Israel-Jordan border!  A few hundred meters later we went down a road that said "Mortal Danger Military Zone."  Of course, I did not stop driving and continued to follow our hosts.  When we finally parked it was literally next to the border fence!! It was insane! Omar asked us if we had our passports, then said we would keep a low profile when we replied that we had left them at the Hostel.  We proceeded to quietly walk past a military base, under a barrier, and into a forested area.  Kate was a bit nervous, I was pretty stoked about the authentic local experience we were getting.

The hot springs is a pool in the middle of a simple run down cement building from long ago.  The building just had 4 walls, with holes where doors and windows used to be and no roof.  There was no lighting, just the moon and the stars Our host said it was probably a hot springs for generals during the Ottoman Empire.  The water was very hot, and sulfurous.  I went all the way and and stayed in for a bit.  All in all it was an AWESOME experience and a story I will tell my children.

Here's some pictures from Tiberius, the town we stayed in.