The Negev

Trip Start Nov 13, 2006
Trip End Oct 21, 2008

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thursday was the MKSH trip to the Negev. I had been out the night before in Tel Aviv to Carolina's birthday party with Johnny B and had a few more drinks than planned, so was glad when I managed to barter a taxi driver down to 100 shekels to take me back to Ra'anana that night. I've never seen a taxi driver drive so fast. Whats more the position of his head while he drove made it look like he in some kind of coma; the journey which on the 47 bus at rush hour takes over an hour took about 15 minutes.

The people on the coach were a fair representation of the MKSH; about 70% from South America (probably seeking a better life), a few zionisic or religious types fron Europe and America, and me - there basically to get away from the gloomy UK weather. If you go out in Britain on a cold Saturday night you may become aware that there is an unwritten code that says 'thou shalt not wear a coat whatever the weather'. In fact the further north you go the more apparent it is; girls in little more than miniskirts and guys shivering in thin shirts.
Well I had jumped on the bus in a T-shirt and shorts all exited about a trip to the hot desert but as I looked around at the long sleeves and trousers it became apparent that I was underdressed, and despite my UK stamina I decided to buy a colourful cardigan at the first service stop.

The Negev is the desolate region in the south of Israel. We headed south past Beersheba, and our tourguide - who looked like Borat with a goatie as well as a moustache - pointed out Rohat?, a Bedouin town that had been built by the Israelis. The Bedouins are indigenous nomadic people so the attempt to settle them had met similar problems to Australian attempts to house aboriginiees.

Our first stop was the house of David Ben Gurion - the first prime minister of Israel. A zionist pioneer, he has been in Israel long before the state was established and believed that agriculture in the Negev was essential to the success of Israel. Our tourguide gave us a talk in a monotonous voice that helped me catch up on the winks I had missed the night before and then we went to see the grave site of David Ben Gurion, which offered spectacular views of the desert. Next was a short hike in the desert where we saw Inixes- deer like animals that blend into the sand coloured rock, and our final stop was at a place where they showed films explaining the geology of the area we had just hiked - another chance for a quick power nap.
On the way back we stopped to light a Hannukia in the trunk of the coach and eat donuts - I had 2. That evening I went to Mr Coffee Bean with Francine where I had a 3rd free donut (started feeling a bit queezy) and received a call from my uncle Brian inviting me to Netanya for Friday night dinner - a blessing and a curse.
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