Hello friends and family!
I am sorry for the dearth of blog posts, my time has been eaten up by life in Israel. I have just gotten back from Passover vacation, and had some exciting adventures during that time, including:
– 120 kilometers of hiking, over mountains and through forests, under the hot Israeli sun
– 6 blisters
– 2 passover seders
– 4 days of Jordan (the country)(+5 hours getting back into Israel)
– 3 books devoured
– 1843 cups of tea
I returned to the Israel Trail to do six more days of trekking, heading south. Armed with enough trail mix to feed a platoon, I ventured out with a friend to see how much we could make ourselves walk. I think 120 kilometers was really the breaking point, we were deliriously hanging onto each other while trudging up our last hill. (Disclosure: we did have to do some hitchhiking, as we completely lost the trail at one point, but were safely delivered to the kibbutz we were trying to find.) It’s an amazing feeling to be drenched in sweat, sunburned, filled with 6 liters of water, and know you just conquered 24 kilometers of desert in one day.
After finishing our trek, we caught a bus down south to Eilat where we met up with another friend, and walked across the border into Jordan. Of course it wasn’t that simple, it also involved paying rather large sums of money and leaving all of our weapons and illegal chemicals behind (so annoying).
Once inside we headed down to Aqaba, where we almost immediately began to explore the underwater wildlife through snorkel masks, although we did stop to ditch our huge backpacks beforehand.
The next day held the wonders of Wadi Rum, a protected desert area with huge historic rocks (aka mountains) decorated with centuries old drawings of camels (remarkably accurate, compared to the dozens of camels wandering around). We wandered through red sand dunes (yes, RED!) down which we unsuccessfully attempted to surf, and the foundations of Lawrence of Arabia’s house, escorted by a largely non-English speaking, chain smoking, mountain scaling, and utterly enthusiastic Bedouin man driving a jeep with just enough parts to get us from A to B. I’m pretty sure that night we were able to see every star in the universe; all generators were shut off after 10pm, one of my first experiences with zero light pollution.
And, of course, Petra. Wow. Photos are below, although I fear they do it just as little justice as any words I might attempt to use in a description. We ended up sleeping over there in a cave with Bedouins (formally nomadic Arabs of the desert) who made the sweetest tea I have ever tasted.
And then just like that, with a short stop in the Jordanian capital of Amman, where perhaps only men live (we were the only double X chromosomes on the streets) we were back in Israel. Personally, I think the hummus here is better, but Jordan had definitively superior hospitality in the tea-giving department.
With about 2.5 months left in Israel, I’m already getting nervous about leaving. It is currently the only place in which I know how to, and have had experience with, living relatively independently. I fear for my adaptation back to America, reverse culture shock, and hummus/falafel deprivation (the last point being one of the most nerve wracking).
I hope you are all doing fantastically!