Mind the Gap
Trip Start May 19, 2012
79Trip End Ongoing
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So before going to bed last night, Jack warned us against going out at night and exploring the "geological phenomenon" about 100 yards from the hostel where we were staying. Good thing we were all too tuckered out to want to do anything but go into town and chillax over coffee "or, in my case, a magnum bar-so good". However, upon waking up this morning to a pretty hardy hostel breakfast, we made the little hike over the rise and had our collective breath taken away. The Maktesh Ramon, by the best guess of geologists, is a large collapsed salt dome, which is about as true as saying the Himalaya Mountains are an area of significant tectonic uplift: true, but totally unable to describe what the experience is truly like. I'll let my pictures do that, because currently my powers for metaphor are being thwarted by mocha cookies and cream ice cream, but more on that later
That poetic moment being finished, we bussed a little ways down the road to the Ein Avdat canyon for a more intimate look at the concept of wilderness. I say this both tongue in cheek and seriously: where we hiked was very likely a place the Hebrews would have spent considerable time in their years in the wilderness waiting for a faithless generation to die because of the relatively consistent water flow and isolation, and hiking in a 500 meter cave bespeckled canyon along side the only stream bed in 50 miles did seriously help me come to a greater appreciation of the wilderness wandering, but let's be honest, what was really going on was that Nicholas was hiking in a 500 meter cave bespeckled canyon along side the only stream bed in 50 miles. Mold together adjectives in the vein gorgeous, severe, and sweaty, and you're getting somewhere close. To cap it all off, this canyon system is boxed at one end, so we got to climb about 300 meters of sharply ascending stairs and iron ladders bolted to the cliff face to get out.
Once out, it was back on the bus north to Tel Be'er Sheva, the southernmost point that the Bible seems to consider as part of the Promised Land
I'm currently posted up in a mall in center city Arad after a substantial home style dinner in our hostel; I'm not sure if these luxury hostels are an Israeli phenomenon, but I could get used to them. Our Holy Lands group rolled into the mall about 40 people strong "led by yours truly once again-these people seem to think I have a sense of direction or something", and while standing in a line 40 Americans long for ice cream a cute Israeli waitress told me to bring some of the group over to her store, which also served ice cream. I am currently looking mournfully at an empty cup from a store whose name I can't pronounce "or read, the only signs being in Hebrew", debating whether I want to get some more, and probably deciding against it.
Tomorrow is a day I've been looking forward to the whole trip: Dead Sea day. I'm not sure of the precise order, but tomorrow is going to include Qumran, Masada, Ein Geddi, and a dip in the Dead City. Life doesn't get much better than that. The going plan is to keep trying to disinfect my leg enough so that when I get in the water I only shed one manly tear. Well, things are getting latish here, so I'm going to sign off and mosey back to the hostel. Peace and blessings.
My Reviews Of The Places I Stayed