No Crowds

by Andrew Stein

It is always nice to travel when there are fewer tourists and shorter lines; however, the circumstances that lead to this trip’s smaller crowds are not happy ones for Israel and the Middle East.  In the second half of last month, well over 1000 Palestinian rockets were fired at Israel.  Specifically, both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were targeted for the first time since the first Gulf War.  In addition, there was a bus bombing near the end of November in Tel Aviv injuring 28 Israeli civilians.

In Jordan, many tourists were probably dissuaded because of the recent clashes over the rise in fuel prices.  Also just last month, people in Amman were calling out for an end to the regime.  Confrontations between protestors and police had led to at least two deaths.

Because of this turmoil, this trip was a game time decision, but because things seemed to have settled down enough in the last month, my Dad and I decided that we would continue forward with our travel plans, and so far, we couldn’t have been happier that we did.  Also, both countries have felt incredibly safe even though we’ve seen our fair share of semi-automatic weapons strapped to the back of soldiers walking the streets.

Hopefully one day, peace in the Middle East will be a reality.  These are beautiful countries filled with lots of stories and so much to see and learn.