Jerusalem and the Dead Sea

Trip Start Jun 06, 2006
Trip End Dec 16, 2006

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

This is the Western Wall- maybe one of the most spiritual and powerful places I have ever been- woman were weaping and dropping to their feet in prayer- sounds of sobbing and hysterical chanting creates an engaging atmosphere. Once I touched the wall I could feel the energy radiating and the reason for such intensity. This is the last remaining portion of the wall that stood over 4000 years ago- for centuries people have not only been praying here but also they find this to be the place where they are closest to God. I would recommend this experience to anyone in the world- Jerusalem itself it that powerful- like walking down the street Jesus supposedly carried the cross to his death. (now its an Arab market....) but its amazing to see....the city itself feels tremendously relgious- but open to many practices- Orthodox Jews to Russian Orthodox to Christians and Muslims....I wish it would be as harmonious below the surface and it seems to be on top.....
We visited Yad Vashem early that morning- the Holocaust musuem in Jerusalem...I cried through the whole thing.....need I say much more-

So after Jerusalem, we took a road trip! Yeah Summer road trip ' the DEAD SEA! Yaniv, Ronen and their friend Mo from NYC

The dead sea is: the lowest spot on earth 1,300 feet below level (now I am at 12,000 feet above- whoa!)10 times saltier than any oceanit is so rich in minerals that you scoop the muck- the mud- the quagmire- from the bottom and rub it all over, including your hair- its the best spa treatment ever!- (we could not stop caressing our softness)I will send the pics soon- I promise- they are awesome! YOU ARE 100% bouyant- in fact its hard to try to stand or flip over- literally laying on top of the waterthere is an extra layer of atmospheric gas (brome gas I think) that lies between sea level and where we were-it prevents sunburing because it filters the UV rays.....So as we were baking in the sun, getting all mudded up and floating around, we were safe from the sun! And then we hiked around the dessert- lookign for natural fresh water cold springs (which we mistakenly never found:) But- to my surprise, WETLANDS GALORE!!! (ok all my fellow wetland scientist nerds.....the only explaination I can think of is the elevation was a bit higher surrounding the sea and there must be seeps and springs from the mountains- mixing water with the salts in the soil.....hummm, new research topic?? please elaborate!!)

anyway, iT was the hottest I have ever been in my life! Dry dessert heat- about 106 degrees F- hiking with one bottle of water..... and all I could think of was the ISraeli soliders in full gear - trekking through this heat and fighting ---- then Yaniv pointed out a grave of rocks and a stake marking a burial- I was sooo outa there at that point.....don't get me wrong though- it was a great experience- the Judian Dessert that is!!

Okay, so, we did miss a turn and that was a little scary- Palestinians were behind us and there were walls and fences blocking off other walls and fences- and who knows who's territory was who's- all we knew was turn around and keep cruzing- we were fine! The only reason the brow was raised was, as I am sure you all have heard about the Israeli soliders being captured and Israel was threatening to capture Hamas leaders....Its amazing to actually be in that part of the world that the news is broadcasting about and feel the frizzle in the air - I had not felt unsafe but it was a no brainer about whether I was going to spend time in Jordan at this point......and by the way, driving in taxis in China and on busses here is much more scary than anything in the middle east!!!

Once I said good-bye to Yaniv and fam- it really hit me that I was about to travel around the world- alone!

THANKS SO MUCH TO YANIV (and RONEN, KAREN AND FAMILY) for being wonderful tour guides and so hospitable! They showed me the best side of Israel- their side!!! Fromthe bottom of my heart, I could never thank you all enough-- it was "solid"! ;)
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