Friday, February 15

Transjordan, Day One: A Taste Of Things To Come

More than a few people were wondering why we had chosen to fly out from the London's domestic City Airport instead of Heathrow. The official story was that it just made more sense with all of us travelling from that part of town - it would have taken the hour saved on a direct flight to get to West London anyway.

Unofficially though I had a hunch that travelling from the smaller airport would, for some reason, keep us all under the radar. Not that any of us had anything to hide of course, but I had heard enough from previous visitors to Israel to establish a sense of paranoia surrounding the fact that we were four Muslims travelling to the Middle Eastern hot spot. I thought that choosing a quieter route may save us the hassle others found they had before even leaving the country; organising the trip and finding three others to join me on it was difficult enough.

And I think I would have been right if I hadn't been walking to the gate carrying my Israel guidebook for all to see. Before I quite knew what was going on, me and the only other male in the group had been pulled aside, searched and questioned as to why we were going to Israel. Officially it was a customs check so maybe I looked like I was carrying a large amount of cash or something. Uh, yeah.

A taste of things to come maybe? For sure. But a part of me was hoping that we wouldn't get any suspicion thrown at us in our own country at least.

The rest of the night flight was pretty uneventful; the stop over in Zurich was fine and we were all in good spirits for the remainder of the journey - possibly a bit too good considering the interrogations I was expecting on arrival. My grumpy self felt that the others weren't taking the situation as seriously as they should have been doing.

I tried to get some rest: we were due to land in Tel Aviv 3am the next day.