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The adventure's on! We went through security and bought tickets at the bus station and had about an hour till departure. It was a bustling US mall type place, unlike the vendor-lined streets of the Old City.
At 8.30 we were supposed to leave and Christopher hadn't shown up and we were geting nervous, but at 8.25 we had him and shoved the bags under the bus and got on. However, the bus was so congested with passengers we had to stand in the aisle. The driver started to pull out and Christopher wasn't even fully aboard. I was hysterically laughing the whole time and wondered if the Israelis around us understood why.
All of a sudden we stopped along the road; we found out the radiator had overheated. So we parked for like 45 minutes, watched one bus come and go with passengers in two shifts. A bus came for us and we piled on right away so as to get a seat. It was so nice and spacious. I think it was great that we were all cramped in the first one so we could be thankful for comfortableness later and understand maybe what Arabs go through...
In Zefat (the highest-elevated town in Israel) we got out of our rental cars to see what we could see. We went through this street that looked all run down, and we were complaining when Todd saw this candlemaking sign. We almost passed it, but us art majors (Todd and I) pushed trying it out and went in. I was like a diamond in the rough! It smelled great, neat mood music was playing, almost like a store in the mall only more precious because you just don't come by stuff like this much in this country. But it was also really different from what you'd find in a mall in the States because it wasn't a chain; the candles were made right there in the shop...
The Sea of Galilee was beautiful. We got to stay at little cottages on the water's edge. What made it all the more precious was that there were no commercial pieces of land surrounding our kibbutz-owned hotel; everything around the sea is either owned by kibbutzim or churches. I collected beautiful tiny shells from the beach there to take home and make an art project with. The sun was setting just then and it was gorgeous...
On the journey from En Gev (on the Sea of Galilee) to the Dead Sea the landscape was amazing. I watched it change from lush green to southern deserty look, rolling hills. Still beautiful all the same...
Driving along the coast of the Dead Sea was really fascinating. The water looked really glassy, and when it rippled it looked thick. It feels thick too, with all that salt. The surroundings are fairly white in colour, also because of the salt the sea deposits. Someone gave me a theory of how the Bible story of Sodom and Gomorrah played out - there was a salty volcanic eruption and the molten, hot, salty magma was flowing towards Lot and his wife, and she stopped to turn and look at the city and the flow enveloped her and turned her into a pillar of salt. How interesting, but who knows?
In Eilat we went across the border to Egypt for a couple of hours to snorkel, but it ended up that the amount of time being there equalled the amount of time going through border stuff. Oh well, it was fun.
- Bethany Good (free travel, on a road trip across Israel):
Woke up at 9.40 this morning to catch the breakfast at the Dan Kibbutz restaurant. Not a bad breakfast - cereal, good cereal. And afterwards it didn't take us long to get ourselves down to the beach. Todd and I decided to do some good exercises in the water so we spent a good 20 minutes or so jumping around and swimming laps. Despite looking like a dork, it felt really good and, hopefully, it'll change my lazy habits that have developed during this trip.
After this vigourous and entertaining activity we ran ourselves onto the shore and began to rest under the sun. I loved it. The weather was so beautiful - breezy and warm. Just right, I'd say.
After half an hour or so Todd said he was hungry and requested that we get something to eat and see if Dan felt like taking a drive. Well, we did this all, but found out that our destination (the mall near Caesarea) was closed for Shabbat until 6 or 6.30. So we ended up driving along the highway and watching God's creation move outside our windows. It was quite refreshing.
Dinner was spectacular. I ordered a toasted sandwich with some kind of cheese, roasted eggplant and mushrooms, pesto, and something tomato-ish. It's funny because in the US I never would eat cheese with anything, really. I'm encouraging myself to like it, I suppose.
But anyhow, now the day is done. All has been reported here, minus the great coffee wtih cinnamon I ordered after dinner. Thank you, God, for the blessing of today. Good night.