by Betty Bowersox
Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014

It was sad to part from our fellow pilgrims today, dropping them off at the Jaffa Gate to Old Jerusalem where they were destined to have one last shot at helping Israel’s economy. Hanna, Gus and Fr. Todd and his mom Sonja, Marty, Becky, Sheila and Betty headed to our last stop before Jordan – lunch in Jericho. It’s hard to imagine that this small desert city with its precious  water resource is about 10,000 years old! Lunch was at an oasis-feeling restaurant, served lamb and chicken shish-kabobs with the typical small-plate salads. We were the only ones there, so it was relaxing to eat outdoors in the quiet shade next to a small green garden that invited the birds to sing.

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Lunch in Jericho – Feb. 20

Then it was off to the King Hussein Bridge to cross over to the Kingdom of Jordan. Becky counted at least 4 check points as we left Israel, and on both sides of the bridge there were long stretches of fenced and protected land that resembled a DMZ.  These two countries currently have a peace agreement, however both are fearful not only of the other, but Israel is fearful that another country will overrun Jordan and push over the Jordan River into their land. Hanna and Gus had to leave us as we walked thru the last immigration turnstile; it was difficult to leave our new Christian brothers behind after they’d blessedly enriched our lives during this trip. Will we cross paths again in the future? Hopefully so.

Getting out of Israel was easy – just pay the departure tax. But we ended up waiting for our Jordanian driver for what seemed like an hour. Camil finally arrived, loaded up the new van, and brought us over to Jordan where we received our visas and hit the road. Our new guide Ali highlighted different current and historical details of Jordan during our nearly four-hour trip to Petra. Jordan is one of the smallest Arab countries, and of the ~7 Million citizens, about 6% are Christian (Greek Orthodox). Once again we went thru desert land as well as areas lush with fruit trees and vegetables. After a short time for ‘reflection’ we got one rest stop at a roadside store/bazaar for drinks, the toilets, and to stretch our legs – and for Sheila, a chance to start helping the Jordanian economy!

It was after dark when we reached the Guest House Hotel, which is right next to the entrance to Petra. Tomorrow we’re promised (or in some of our minds, threatened with) a 4K walk into Petra plus the 4K return trip. It should be warm and sunny with a high in the low 70’s, although we’re starting out at 8:30 when it’ll still be a little chilly (feel sorry for us yet?!).  Dinner was a buffet, and since they ‘had no room at the Inn’ for Compline, we read it together at our table in the dining room.

That’s it for now.  We’re all looking forward to seeing Petra tomorrow, one of the new ‘7 Wonders of the World!’

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At the Elvis American Diner in Jerusalem… Our last time together before the 6 going Jordan separate on the continuation of their journey.

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Lunch with Elvis!

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