Since I had some spare time, I decided to visit the Near East for two or three weeks. I boarded a plane and flew to Lebanon where I disembarked and boarded a bus. Several other people my age were on the bus. I had earlier seen my old junior-high school classmate Phil Waddell sitting by himself on the plane, and now I again discovered Phil by himself on the bus. He appeared to be in his early 30s and he hadn't shaved in about a day. I didn't speak to him.
A fellow sat down beside me and the bus took off. I was happy and exuberant. I talked quite a lot and I even sang some. When I put my hands over my mouth to make noises, the fellow next to me sang along.
Although I wanted to go to Syria, most of the other people on the bus were going south to Israel. I first thought that Syria was also south of Lebanon, but then I began to realize that I hadn't thought the matter out well and that Syria was actually north of Lebanon. Since I thought we were headed south, I therefore thought that I was going in the wrong direction. I asked someone which way we were going and the person told me that we were first going to go over to Jordan. I thought, "Well, we must be going due west over to Jordan."
I further learned that when we reached Jordan, some men of King Hussein of Jordan were supposed to accompany the passengers to Israel. I began to think, "If we're in Lebanon and we enter into south Lebanon there might be some guerilla warfare going on."
When I heard people talking about the guerilla warfare in Lebanon, I thought about how the last time I had visited the East I had ended up spending eight months in jail inIran. I didn't want anything like that to happen again. A number of Americans had recently been kidnapped in the area. I certainly didn't want that to happen to me. If I were kidnapped, I might end up in jail for a year or more.
I finally decided to walk up to the bus driver and ask him what I should do when we crossed into Jordan. I walked up to hinm and he said, "Yes sir. What can I do for you?"
I replied, "I'm going to Syria. I'm not going down to Israel. Would it be better if I split off from the group when we got into Jordan?"
But he didn't seem to know what I should do.
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