This day was jam packed of a million things. And it started off with a pretty exhausting activity in itself.
We got up at 3:30 am, and boarded the bus and headed off a short way to Mount Masada. It was pretty dark, but our eyes adjusted quickly and we headed up the trail. For those of you who don’t know, this is a fortress built on top of a plateau so that it would be extremely hard to attack. This means that, even while not attacking the place, it was a very strenuous hike. But it felt really nice to exhaust myself going up. Lots and lots of steps. Got there and checked out the surroundings and it was beautiful. We saw the sunrise, and some service being performed by the Israeli army.
Then we went on a tour around Masada, with Irad telling us the various details of what happened. Looks like it would have been a really interesting place to live…
Made out way down and had a breakfast, which felt like lunch. Then left on the bus again.
Went to the Large Crater, which is right about middle Israel, and Irad explained all about that and it wasn’t all that interesting really. Some group of Israeli students were near us and found a huge spider scorpion that completely freaked out this one girl. It was quite amusing.
Then we had lunch at some place, I think near a university, which was alright. After eating I went outside to watch some kids playing, of all games, Gaga. Or at least thats what Camp Tawonga calls the game. It’s a game kind of like circular dodgeball. They were playing a version where if a person who got you out got out, you would go back in. Thus making a much longer game. Jake joined in and got out almost instantly.
Then we left for Ben Gurion‘s grave. He was the first Prime Minister of Israel, and was a good guy. He believed in Israeli’s learning how to live in the Negev -the desert- and that is why he was buried there. There’s a nice little park-like area around his grave.
Then we went to a Hot Springs Spa, which was pretty awesome. The pool was really cool, which was nice since we had been sweating and in hot weather all day. Then after cooling off for a bit, they had an indoor hot pools that just completely relaxed the body. It was so very nice. After swimming around a bit I chilled in the sun and talked with people. Got a beer, and soaked in the sun. Then I went to go play volleyball with people, which was incredibly fun, although I suck at serving.
THEN (yes there was more!)
We went to a camel place AND WE RODE CAMELS!!! This was extremely awesome because, except for maybe a zoo, or the ones we saw on the road earlier, I had never come that close to a camel, let alone ride one. I haven’t even ridden a horse before! Anyhow, I wasn’t on the first trip, but the second and third sessions I rode. It was really really fun, except for the metal bars my legs were banging against. Really cool. We got to some place and Karen (translated from the caretaker) and Irad explained about camels and how they work. It was a really great experience.
Then we went to the place that we would be staying, which was a Bedouin tent site. We put down our mattresses on these large rugs inside large tents, and went to dinner. Before dinner, a Bedouin man explained to us all the parts of a Bedouin society, such as their idea of Eye for Eye when it comes to justice, a mediator chief-like guy, extreme hospitality to people, and various traditions concerning coffee. A Bedouin will hopefully serve you three half-cups of coffee, and then you are considered a close friend. But if a Bedouin doesn’t really like you, he will politely clue you to leave by giving you a full cup of coffee. It was really interesting.
The food was wonderful. It was kind of like a tortilla bread that was sort of thick, and you would wrap up rice/spices/lamb and stuff into it, making a burrito kind of food. I’m not sure if that was actually how to do it, but made the most sense. It was great too. And the coffee, which I had to try, was kind of weird… a bit thick and concentrated. But good.
After dinner, we whipped out the bottles of alcohol we had purchased earlier somewhere, and the drinking commensed! I had gotten a bottle of brandy, which wasn’t too good, and split the cost with Mike of a J&B whisky. It was good but from what I hear, Irad drank all of it and thats why we couldn’t find the rest in the morning. I played drinking games with a group, the one where you do various things depending on the card you pick up. Then I played Never-Have-I-Ever with some other people. Then chilled a lot, and I remember hurting my feet a bit when walking barefoot to the bathroom. Celebrated Julie’s birthday somehow, and around then I can’t remember too much… I hear that I started to fall asleep on the bench but said I was ok. Then Michelle took me back to my bed and I fell asleep.