Monday, June 27, 2011

Israel, Day #6

Day 6.
It was an early morning.  Up for breakfast at 7.  So damned early.  It was for a very good reason - Masada.  The first car up was at 8; I think we got there at 8:15. Matt wanted to climb the snake path, but it was too late, he would have been miserable.  But as he says, if I didn't want to be miserable I wouldn't have gotten married.  **You should know he just leaned over and bit me as I was typing that, no it is reciprocal.  Back to the story.  We toured Masada, Herod's fortress, his bathhouse, the fortress walls, and the cisterns.  We walked all over the top and around the sides.  There were moments up there that I was writing this in my head - I have forgotten anything I was thinking earlier.  Inside the synagogue they have installed a scribe to write a Torah on Masada.  While we were there he was taking a break and writing the insides of mezuzot.  Masada makes me sad.  Aside from the fact that lots of Jews died there, I wish that the story had a better ending.  I wish that they had not decided to mass suicide - it feels so entirely not Jewish because preserving life is the most important.  It feels hypocritical to Judaism.  After touring Masada we went back down the mountain to the museum, which was hysterical.  It had an audio tour that was activated when you walked into a room.  In the script two people are talking to each other and having the most ridiculous conversation.  "Oh hey I didn't see you standing there!  Want to know about some artifacts we found on Masada? Wonderful let's take a walk through the museum!" stuff.  More funny than anything else.  They did find lot of neat stuff - wow that sounded like I am still in 6th grade.  Try again.  Some of the artifacts are very interesting.  The ones they made the biggest deal over were 12 tiles, pottery shards, with people's names on them.  They thought that this was how the men drew lots to see whom would be the last man standing.  Let's see they also found a braid (like a full braid), a comb, makeup stuff, lots of pottery, pieces of scroll including parts of the Torah, and a Tallit.  They found food and a receipt of some kind also.  The desert is amazing for storing things for long periods of time because it is so dry and hot.  Nothing gets damp and disintegrates.

Okay morning is over and into the car we go.  We are driving down to Elat.  This is the first time any of us has been that far south - it is as far south as you can go.  It is also about 3 hours from Masada with nothing between them.  Just hot Arava.  We did stop at McDonalds - because it was the only option - for a McKebob.  Seriously.  Unidentified meat and deliciousness.  All the way to Elat.  Then it appears out of the desert, almost like Las Vegas.  The desert plays tricks on your eyes.  It is hard to tell how far away things are because you can see them for a really long time before you get anywhere near them. 
Elat.  Elat has a beautiful beach and promenade and a ton of shopping.  It is the import capital of Israel - I might have just made that up.  There is a ton of shopping.  We got in around 3 and were in the Red Sea as quick as we could.  This is also when we said goodbye to Danny.  He starts teaching a course tomorrow so he had to get back.  We have 2 days down here without a guide.  So today we went into the Red Sea.  It is so clear that you can see your feet and the bottom even after you can no longer stand.  And you float more than in the Atlantic or Caribbean.  Not as much as the Dead Sea but still more than anywhere else we were.  We actually relaxed for an entire afternoon! 
We, I mean, I wanted to go to a Bedouin tent for dinner.  And so we did.  They were not authentic, I mean they were but they were not out in the middle of nowhere.  They were at the edge of the downtown area.  We had cheese, hummus, veggies, and pita for dinner.  Matt smoked a hookah.  We all had beer.  It was a good night.  Tomorrow is another new experience.  We are going to Petra.  This should be really good!

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