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21 Aug 2006

ISRAEL: 22 hours of birthday fun

So - my birthday. Sorry for the delay in posting! (This turned into a mega-post. Make sure you have your morning coffee with you.)

We woke up at 2:15am, Shachar (Iris' boyfriend) came and picked us up at 2:30. 'Us' was me and Iris' roommate Rita. Rita was really cool. She had lived in Boston for 10 years, so her English was SUPER. Also, she only immigrated to Israel 3 years ago, so she had lots of perspective about the culture vs American culture, etc.

We drove to some town about .5 hrs away where Shachar's parents live to pick up his Dad's car. I think his parents are in Ireland, so we took their car - his Dad's company pays for his gas. That is very common here - you lease a car and your company pays your gas and insurance. Neat-o! We also picked up his friend from highschool (and I think they were also in the army together) named Boaz. Boaz is very nice, but very blond, I was worried he would burn all day!

Then we drove to Masada (here I am hoping you read the wiki Masada entry, as background reading to the blog). We missed sunrise - the driving took longer than Shachar thought. I actually was a smidge disapointed with Masada. I had the impression it was a gruelling two-hour+ hike, and after all our hard work we'd be rewarded with a glourious site on top. Eh, not so much. It was sort of like climbing a few flights of stairs. Took about 15 minutes, and we stopped to take pictures a couple of times.

On top it was cool, with lots of ruins and whatnot.

Then, we went down to do another hike. Since we hit Masada a bit late, we didn't get to the next trail head until about 10am. I was dying. It was Stupid hot.

I still contend that a wet T-Shirt is nature's perfect air conditioner. So before we started the hike I wet my shirt (a long sleeve cool shirt over my tank) - SO much better.

The hike were were doing was the Wadi Aurugot in Ein Gedi

It was still amazingly hot. I mean - its August, in the desert. Why does God try to melt me and scorch my skin??

We hiked along for a few mintues, then we saw a stream. We were very excited, and ended up going to sit in the stream for a bit. By this time everyone was on board with the wet-clothing idea, extended to pants and shoes.

It was a very very nice hike. We continued along for a few hours, often in the stream itself (which slowed us, but was super fun). At the end of the hike - WATERFALL! w00t!

The water was really nice and lovely. Probably one could drink it, but I am not so brave. It is bottled and sold here ("Ein Gedi water"), but I am thinking perhaps there is some filtering that goes on before its bottled.

We hiked back out quickly (we took the high and dry path) - because we were Starving. We had maybe not brought quite enough food.

We picked up a Dutch girl on the way, and she came to the Dead Sea with us. Before the Dead Sea we had a birthday luncheon in a weird little mall. I take this opportunity to point out I haven't had any good meat in Israel. I suspect the chicken might be pretty good, but we all know my feelings about chicken. My shiskebab was dry and horrid. Vegematarians have it made here though.

Anyhoo, on we went to the Dead Sea.

Its crazy like they say it is.

Hard to explain - but its actually quite hard to manoeover around. You under NO circumstances want your head to go under, or to have any bit of splash in your mouth or nose. Alas, I did get a bit in my mouth - icky-gross-evil-nasty. If you have any cuts when you go in they burn - even teeny itsy bitsy scratches burn. Magically, I didn't have any.

We went out for food when we got back to the city, but it was kind of lame - m'I bad, I was tired. It was past 11 when we got back, and we needed some FOOOD! We met Jacob and his friends, but we dragged them around a bit looking for somewhere to give us dinner. We settled on a coffee shop and had some soggy sandwiches and bad wine. Meh. I was DEAD tired, and we went home around 12:30 or 1 I think.

All in all, super good birthday.

1 comment:

Doug said...

Happy birthday!

I hiked up Masada as a kid and it was 400 degrees, and it sucked!

Flight of stairs my ass...