Egypt, Egypt, Israel, Israel, Spiritual Reflections, Travel

HOLY LAND 2014: Crossing the border from Egypt to Israel

Our stay in Egypt seemed to go by so fast. I know we were able to visit a good number of touristy places but there is so much more to explore. Our tour guide Moses told us that the new Egyptian Museum would open next year and I’m thinking I should definitely go back. There are other places to see like Abu Simbel, the Valley of the Kings, Karnak, Luxor and Joseph’s Storehouses.

After a 10-hour bus ride, our group arrived at the Egypt land port where we had to cross the border to Israel. Marco, our tour guide number 2 warned us to not take photos or videos at the border because they were very strict. Once you get off the bus, it’s best that you find your luggage right away or an attendant will take it for you and you have to pay him $5. Call me kuripot but I didn’t want to! Imagine, an attendant will take your luggage, put it on a cart along with the others and he gets $5 from each of you? I can handle my luggage, thank you very much!

When you get to the land port, there’s a security check. It’s best to pull out your travel documents and passport and bring them with you as you pass through the scanner. We filled out a small sheet and had our passports stamped and we were out of Taba in less than an hour. The Israel land port is another story. It’s very memorable for me because THEY TOOK MY PASSPORT! I remember following the rules–I didn’t horse around, I didn’t even take photos or videos! When it was my turn to show my passport, the female immigration officer asked me if I spoke English and I said “Yes.” After that, she took my passport and said they have to hold it for security reasons. I thought it was a routine thing initially, but when I saw the rest of my tour group still had their passports with them, my heart started pounding so fast.

“Bakit nila kinuha passport mo? Ano daw rason?” my room mate Ate LJ asked me. The immigration officer just said for security reasons. So I prayed. My luggage went through the security check, I thought they’d open up my bags and ask my about my stuff but that didn’t happen. I was waiting for my passport while the others had to go through the ordeal of having all their bags opened. After a few moments, a woman called my name. She had my passport and she led me to the area opposite the baggage check. She swiped my passport with a piece of cloth, scanned it on a machine, she took my temperature and then she let me go. She never told me the real reason why they took my passport and left the others alone. I was just grateful that the ordeal was over. I had to go through 2 more people at the immigration, they asked me questions about our stay in Israel and how long we’d be there. I finally got out and told our tour coordinator Tita Mina about what just happened. She said it happens at random. One of her tour group members experienced the same thing last year.

We were delayed for about two hours because the strict immigration officers held one of our companions for questioning. They saw that his passport had a stamp from Pakistan and he had to explain that his company has an office in Pakistan which he visits from time to time. The whole bus prayed for him because the officers were holding him for too long. It was a faith-stretching experience. When we saw him with his luggage approaching the bus, we let out a loud cheer and thanked God.

We spent the night at the Magic Palace Hotel.

Β The beautiful scene that greets you in the morning

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