In which I nearly curse

Let's go back in time almost 48 hours and talk about leaving Jordan. No, not a lovely reminiscence post, but a post about physically exiting the country.

As you may recall, there are some funky carry-on restrictions these days. We had no idea what we would be allowed to take on the plane in Amman. We were only hoping it would be more than a passport. A friend of ours who left the day before us called and said that some people were getting carry-on suitcases past the boarding agents and other people weren't. Lovely, because that's just what I need - more uncertainty, worry, and stress at 3 am in the airport.

Jeremy and I adopted a strategy we picked up in Russia: don't ask, don't tell. We walked up to the check-in counter, first in line for one of the two agents on duty. Jeremy calmly checked us in, not saying anything about carry-ons or asking if they were allowed. When the agent was finished with us, we just walked away discreetly with our carry-on items. There were a few other students on the same flight as us and some of them made the mistake of asking what the policy was. They didn't get to carry their bags on, or at least not as many as they had hoped.

I thought we were home free at this point, but I was wrong. The passport control agent stamped Jeremy through but directed Miriam and me to the accounting desk, apparently to pay some kind of fine. It turns out that the neighborhood police station had incorrectly recorded the date of our registration in our passports as May 3rd instead of May 30th, meaning that to the passport agents, it appeared we had overstayed our visa by a few weeks.

Jeremy tried to make the officer see reason, pointing out, among other things: 1) why would Miriam and I go to the police station to register on the same day we arrived in Jordan, when we are allowed thirty days to do so? And anyway, 2) why would we go separately from Jeremy? All the anecdotal evidence pointed to the date of May 3rd being a clerical error, but it was maktub, so what could we do?

It took two hours, 54 JDs, and the entire passport control staff to sort everything out. I'm still quite sore aout the 54 JD part, and I don't really want to talk about it (that's where the cursing might come in). But Jeremy went down fighting, and I'm planning on writing Jordan (I haven't decided exactly who, yet. The Queen, maybe?) a nastygram.

Jeremy mentioned later that he was glad this situation arose in Jordan, and not Syria, at least, because Jordan has more nizaam (order). But in my opinion, it was the Jordanian passport officers' very insistence on nizaam that hurt us. In Syria, I honestly believe they would have discussed it for a while and then just waved us through. Stuff like that happened all the time when we were there.

So passport guys: good on you for sticking to your guns on this one. Just know that we were right and you were wrong. I hope you put our 54 JDs to good use, like putting up a few more No Smoking signs in the terminal that can be ignored.

The good news is that we stopped by Cosmo the day we left and miraculously, the Haribo rack had reappeared, fully stocked. Hmm, the cease-fire did start on Monday...Coincidence? I think not.

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Remedial parenting