To the desert but not on a horse with no name, was with Egged bus, then to Na'ama's friend's home

Mitzpe Ramon Travel Blog

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I woke up indecently early for me. As a college student with late classes, there are def. times I wake up around noon or later but today was different. I had now spent one whole day in Israel, the on and off center of a "Holy War," numerous invasions, the sites of miracles for those of the Abrahamic faith, and the land of mythos that I had read as an earnest child in Sunday school.

"Mythos" meaning story, not necessarily true or false but definitely symbolically significant. According to my Yiddish "godmother" :D, this was a land of little apparent value. No oil, no rich land and yet there was so much bloodshed over it. It was and IS rich in immense ideological value...

Na'ama tossed me a banana and made me 2 sandwiches of pita with chocolate.
She asked if I liked chocolate, I said yes I do, and asked if she had Nutella spread or something.

"Nutella is NOT chocolate," she stressed, her insistence amusing me, "I hate when people say nutella is chocolate, it's hazelnut."

Okay, okay hazelnut it is! Actually, this was a repeat conversation I had with two of my best friends home in the U.S., and yet I still haven't learned, and still call nutella chocolate! ha! Chocolate spread vs. hazelnut supporters are nuts!

Na'ama had to work on her thesis on insects, sooo brainy! so she suggested I take a bus to Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev Desert with the Ramon Crater.
I lagged behind, checking my e-mail (am addicted), and nearly missed the last bus to Mitzpe Ramon which would allow me enough time to sight-see, and enough time to get back to Na'ama's place. I had to consider Shabbos after all when all public transportation would stop from Fri. to Sat. evening.

I took a taxi -20 Shekels- to the the Central Bus Station and caught a bus around 11AM, the round trip to MR costing -25.50 Shekels-. The bus driver dropped me off at the bus stop by the Central Viewing Point around 2 hours later.

I walked slowly up the incline of the sand kissed slabs, taking pictures of everything I could think of, from the pebbles under my feet, to the sky overhead, to the little brown bird of the desert flitting around the sand, refusing to cooperate for my camera.
I was viewing everything from behind a camera screen when some words of advice came to mind, don't just look from behind a camera but LOOK.

The desert stretched for miles, dry and seemingly barren, swirls of dark and black indented into the earth. The crater was interesting to look at but I was standing so far from it, so high above it, there just felt a huge disconnection. I listened to the click of my boots on the wooden platform of the CVP, to the whistle of the breeze, and felt very small...How many people had tread through this area, took their mandatory pictures but didn't wonder of the processes that created it, had they touched the grains of sand, or trailed their hands in the dry heat? Did it matter if they did? Did it matter if I did? I was just a small thing passing through, ultimately inconsequential.

I walked to the side of the CVP, down the small stone slabs to where the the cliff dropped dramatically down to the crater and where there was no barricade or fence to prevent a person from falling over the cliff. Towards the edge I tread, carefully. I did not want any accidents but I did not want to miss this unobstructed sight either!

I sat down close to the edge of the cliff but not the edge itself. Stories of people falling to their deaths after being swept by the wind came to mind. I tried to touch a little lizard that slipped around but it disappeared quickly in a hole. I picked up pebbles and tossed it over. It was very quiet and still, I had never know silence like this...

Eventually, I got up, slipping in my boots, they looked beautifully lightly scuffed, lived in, I had tripped over enough things to give it a pretty patina :)

Walked back up to the CVP, now there was a family of three, a little boy and his parents.
I smiled, wave hello, and went back to the bus stop about 30 feet away. Across from the stop there were several children racing with toy carts. They ran, stopped in their tracks, looked at me, and began racing again. The next time, I smiled to them and they broke into huge grins, and started waving towards me. Adorable, pigtailed little girls in dresses and curly haired boys.

I waited for a couple hours for the bus, I thought I missed it because of Shabbos but finally it came! Such a relief! And then I saw the same face of the bus driver who dropped me off hours before, such a wonderful feeling of familiarity. He asked me if I enjoyed the Ramon Crater, and I did.

The bus drive was a few hours and since it was midday the sun streaming thru the windows was hot. I was drowsy, sleeping on and off but I did notice the plentiful soldiers, male and female getting on and off, slinging their backpacks over their shoulders with the same ease with which they handled their rifles.

One soldier exited the bus, and his girlfriend was waiting for him. They hugged passionately but not lewdly. They clung to each other without kissing, her arms over his neck, his arms round her back and the long plait of her hair. There was such intensity and immediacy to hold each other and not let go...*Sigh* to be in love...
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The central viewing point for Mitz…
The central viewing point for Mit…
Mitzpe Ramon
photo by: esterrene