Grofit Travel Blog› entry 10 of 13 › view all entries
January 17th, 1999 – by: jarv1506
so like a complete fool i set out on foot from kibbutz Grofit at about 6 in the evening. i thought it would be an easy walk straight south along the highway. and it was, until it got dark at which point i left the road to rest my feet for a moment, and could not find it again. i spent little time trying to find my way back to the road and when that didn't work i figured i'd try fot high ground. there is a large ridgeline and a few mountain to the west of the highway. so i found ground that sloped slightly upwards and followed it, and followed it, and followed it. i came to the top of a hill, and i saw some camp fires. thinking that this must be some fun loving travelers like myself i headed towards them. as i got closer i realized there were a few fires and they were spread apart, so i figured it was a campground. dude was i wrong. when i got within a few hundred yards is when i saw the camels. a lot of camels, and a few donkeys, and a lot of talking, none of it in english. also quite a few tents, large tents. now i was wondering what exactly i was approaching. so i stopped and yelled HEEELLLOOOOOO. a few figures came out of the tents and yelled back at me but i couldn't understand, they sounded friendly so i kept approaching. as i got closer i began to amke out what i now know was salaam alekhim (not sure if that's how you spell it). so i walked into camp to be greeted by 4 very friendly and armed bedoiuns. now bedoiuns as i've come to understand have no real country, they are people of the desert. so they apparently roam around the middle east at their leisure. and i can assure you from personal experience that if you're cool, they're extremely friendly. so i walked in they said salaam alekhim and i said alekhim salaam. we just stood looking at each other for a minute or so, before they started talking amongst themselves. i must have been quite a sight, some random 18 year old american in the middle of the negev. the oldest one invited me inside one of the tents. where a woman i'm assuming was his wife served me a cup of coffee, then another that was sweeter, then another that was even sweeter. the old guy just sat and watched me as i drank i tried to communicate using hand and arm signals, but we couldn't really understand one another. after i finished the coffee he motioned ot the tent flap where the three other guys i'd seen earlier that night were standing, all armed. i was a little nervous to say the least. i later found out that these were his sons, and that the cups of coffee and the appearance of his sons was a sign of his hospitality and that his sons would lay down their lives before harm would come to me. of course i didn't know this at the time, so i just smiled and tried not to act to nervous. i was led to a pile of blankets and other soft looking things where i slept out the night. in the morning i was given tea, water, fruit and what i think was goat cheese and bread. i thanked them and offered them money which i refused, and i set out towards yotvata. now there are a couple of notes i have about bedouins that i've since learned. bedouins will take in anyone that needs shelter for up to 3 nights, they are extremely friendly and peaceful the tents that they stay in are woven out of goat hair by their wives which is crazy, so mad respect for bedoiun women. if you ever have the chance to meet or stay with bedouins while in israel, go for it, it's totally sweet!
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