trip: Nazareth to Wadi Musa
how: by Avis rental car or the Peugeot 206 master, shared taxi, and mini-bus.
miles total: 5458
The trip from Nazareth to Jerusalem went fine. When we got to Jerusalem, went through the old-city souq to find some last minute gifts, then headed for the best falafel in Jerusalem. After this we headed to the bus (FYI the bus to the border is double the price of coming to Jerusalem, around 33 NIS). We reached the border and crossed through without any problems, then headed to Amman.
I knew going into this trip that my rights as a woman may not be as expansive as they are in Europe and the US. Actually, it was evident that I had lost many of my rights as a woman when I traveled through some of these countries in the Middle East. I had many experiences feeling already that made me feel much lower than the men around me. Just little things like never seeing women in the streets, cafes, shops during the day, never seeing them drive, smoke, talk to other men, having separate elevators for men and women, not being able to sit next to a man on a bus, boat, or train. These are just a few, but my most recognizable experience was in Amman when we were waiting for the bus to Petra.
After making it to Amman for around 3pm we were scared that we had missed the last bus down to Petra. However, at the Jordan border we met a nice Jordanian police officer who negotiated a price with the taxi driver and assured us that we would be there in time and not to let the ‘bastard taxi drivers’ charge us any more than what we settled on. We didn’t. We got to the mini-bus station in Amman and there were about four guys at the bus stop and they told us that there was one bus going to Petra in some minutes. After an hour and a half later we saw the bus arriving… but suddenly there was about 35 people that came from all over the bus station certain they were getting on this bus too. I was just as certain. I looked at G and gave him my bag and told him that there was no way we weren’t getting to Petra tonight. I gave him my bags and fought my way through the crowd of people pushing to get on the bus. When I got on there was one seat left with a bag on it, next to an Arab man. I didn’t even think twice before I looked at the man and asked to sit next to him. Without understanding me he gave me a blank stare and looked behind me at a man who started to look very angry. The situation unfolded something like this:
M: That is my seat ma’am.
ME: You just arrived here sir. I waited for an hour for this bus.
M: I’m sorry that is not my problem. Talk to the driver.
ME: Sir, I waited for this seat and this seat is mine.
M: My bag is on that seat (pointing) you see that it is mine.
ME: Sir, you put your bag through the window. It’s not fair.
M: I’m sorry, talk to the driver.
ME: No sir. This is my seat.
M: (very angry)
People started to talk to him and soon he started to argue with them. Everyone on the bus argued and eventually he got off. I didn’t know what happened until the bus stopped two hours later for a rest stop. At this point, the girl in front of me turned around and said, “I’m sorry you had to have that happen to you. But I am so happy that you stood up for your seat. He didn’t deserve it.” I said, “thank you”. She then continued to tell me that everyone on the bus agreed with me and started to tell him that it wasn’t fair what he did. My heart was still beating fast from the incident (especially because I knew this man had a gun) and I was quiet for the rest of the ride to Wadi Musa (Moses’ Valley, the closest town to Petra).
We stayed at the Valentine Hostel that night and had a lovely buffet dinner then had an early night to prepare for the next day in Petra and on to Wadi Rum.