The West Bank, the Dead Sea, and into Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv Travel Blog› entry 76 of 81 › view all entries
The six of us rode a bus through the hills east from Jerusalem which were sparsely populated by Arabs and a few military checkpoints - the West Bank. From a dusty desert overlook we saw the Dead Sea and the light-brown hills of Jordan, not very distant. Traveling south we heeded posted signs warning, 'Danger! No Swimming!' and continued down the shoreline to En Beqeq. The beach was crusted by layers of salt. Entering the mineral-rich waters, I felt the piercing sting of a days-old cut. The buoyant waters were mind-boggling. We were able to roll over and over without getting our feet, arms ,head, or neck wet. At 1,290 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea remained the lowest place on earth.
Scott and I had an early morning flight to Athens. Back in Jerusalem we shopped for last minute souvenirs. I swapped a Buck Special hunting knife that I had carried since we left Michigan for a backgammon board. The sturdy box from Damascus, Syria, was meticulously hand-crafted in an intricate design of inlaid wood and camel bone. We were a few days from being home and, like the final day of our safari in Kenya, didn't really want to see the journey end. We were intrigued by the kibbutz concept in Israel. Those communal colonies offered room and board in exchange for labor. We considered work on one - perhaps outdoors on a farm or orchard - in order to extend our adventure. But we could not afford the fees imposed to change our tickets a second time. We bid the Australian friends farewell and boarded the last night bus to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.