After the Wadi Rum tour, we decided to skip lunch and headed straight to the border. Anna had to catch a bus to Jerusalem and we wanted to get to Israel ASAP. It was a Saturday and we were concerned that the border might close early because of Sabbath.

The borders were very quiet and we were the only people who wanted to cross. On the Jordanian side, we had to go looking for the guards who would give us the exit stamp (5JD each) so we could exit Jordan (why do countries need this? We had to pay a similar tax in Cambodia and that was $25!). It was our first time walking on no-mans land. Of all the places for such a first time, we were in the middle of Israel and Jordan – right in the middle of the Gaza War!

When we crossed into Israel, the first customs officer we saw was a lady and she definitely looked more Indian.No words were spoken between us, but she radioed in that we were going in to the building.

Once in, we were asked to surrender our passports and luggage (which was thoroughly inspected – through scanners and by hand). I was let through almost immediately but they stopped Heena and asked her a few questions: What is the origin of your last name? Questions on our roots in India? Questions on festivals of India. Where we live now. What we did in Jordan. They were extremely polite about this and at no point did we feel this was intrusive.

While I waited at the other end, the girl from outside came and asked whether we were from India. Yes, I told her. She was very excited and told us that her family is Jewish and had immigrated to Israel in 1948. She asked me about my hometown in India and when I told her she almost jumped – her hometown is just two hours from ours! This is one of the best things about travel – you never know what to expect around the corner!