From Jerusalem to Ein Gedi (Dead Sea), Eilat, Taba and Cairo

Ein Gedi Travel Blog

 › entry 9 of 12 › view all entries
Shir woke me up, as my alarm clock, programmed with the delicate sounds of a harp being plucked drifted into my dreams but did not rouse me into consciousness, instead I dreamt of angels :)

She was in a rush to get to class, and I was moving slowly but got myself together. I think I was a pain b/c I was moving in a fog but she still bore with me, and also gave me another CS host's name and number in Cairo in case I needed somewhere to stay there, AND e-mailed the CS host that I might be coming, such a sweetheart!

We walked outside, she pointed out the bus station, said our goodbyes. I took the bus to the Central Bus Station. I was on the line for tix but gave up after a bit and went to the line to the bus itself, figuring I'd purchase the ticket on the bus itself.
A couple people cut in line in front of me, three times I had to remind people where my place was, quite annoying but I'm a NYker so I'm used to it enough ;).

The bus was overbooked but another bus came a half hour later, my tardiness messed up my schedule. If I went to the Dead Sea (Ein Gedi), then there was no way I would be able to get to Eilat in time to cross the border to catch the LAST bus from Taba, Egypt to Cairo to catch my flight to NYC. But this was the Dead Sea, how could I not go after traveling all this way? it was bad enough that I missed Bethlehem and Nazareth!

I figured I'd go to the Dead Sea, then find a taxi, or another option would present itself. Insh'allah!

A couple hours later, with the Ein Gedi Qibutz at my back, I crossed the highway, walked thru the empty parking lot, down the sand hills, red umbrellas, and saw just a few beachgoers.
Lovely. Little salt crystals grew out of rocks, the small but noticeable waves played at my toes. I leaned back in the water, trying to trust the fact that of course I'd float but I'm a weak swimmer so am still nervous ;)

It was a perfect day, sunny, quiet, a bit of a breeze but I knew I couldn't tarry for too long. Eventually, I went back the way I came to the bus stop. Some German backpackers came asking me for directions to the qibutz, then a Hasidic Jewish family came and asked me where the beach was, haha, I guess I look like a local or in the know?? Maybe my look of serenity from having been in the Dead Sea made me look like I knew something?

A Hasid man came over to me, he was hitchiking to the next town over with little success. He asked me if I had a cigarette, I didn't.
A bunch of cars kept stopping by to ask where each of us was going. No one wanted to take him b/c he didn't have any money to pay. One Palestinian minibus driver refused him and advised me to just wait for the next Eilat bound bus that was coming in two hours, rather than renting a minibus or taxi.

I decided to take his advice b/c I didn't have enough Shekels on me. The Hasid man was finally picked up by a nice family. I continued waiting, occasionally dispensing advice to the newest tourists being dropped off by the few buses passing through. :) "Go right, cross over, yes there's a toilet, yes there is a snack bar to the left, the information booth is to the left too" blah blah.

I took some more pictures, my favorite was of the red bus sign that some hitchhikers scrawled over in Arabic, French and English, "You know what??! Hitchhiking works better in the Arabic places!" Although, this wasn't the case for me, lots of people passing me by offered to drop me off but I didn't know how wise that was, as I was on my own.

At some point, the Palestinian driver came back b/c he had a difficult time picking up fares, so he sat by me smoking a cigarette. He introduced himself, and we talked about Jerusalem, Palestinians, my tour of Susiya, my trip in general. Turns out, while he is a Palestinian, he also has a Jerusalem I.D b/c he was born there. I didn't know what the implications meant exactly but he explained that this made his life much easier, as he could pass through more security checks and was hassled less than other Palestinians. I also asked him if it was so obvious to distinguish Jewish Israelis from Palestinian Israelis b/c to me often I couldn't see the difference (in general, I can't tell the difference of many ethnicities among "races" either). He said that most can but at the same time the Jews and Arabs were brothers; the idea of Abraham the patriarch was the father of Isaac and Ishmael, the genetic (or symbolic) ancestors of Jews and Muslims.

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Ein Gedi
photo by: daynnightraveller