Israel Day Seven. Dead Sea, Bedouin, & Camels

I was awake as usual at 4:30 am. My roommate and I got up and got ready to go into the Dead Sea right before sunrise at 5:30 am! Our tour guide had said it was the best time…to be floating in the water as everything turned golden. It was!

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I chose NOT to bring my camera or iphone down, so I didn’t accidentally ruin either one and just ENJOY the experience. It was a good thing I didn’t because I ended up having to help others into the water and use their cameras and phones to take their pictures. So, I have no picture of me floating like a cork in the Dead Sea, but I am ok with it.:) It really is quite a unique experience. I couldn’t stand for long or lay on my stomach (like some could) so I just held my arms under my knees and sat like I was in a sling. If I had had a pool noodle, it would have been perfect. We couldn’t get any of the “water,” which is more like oil into our eyes, nose or mouth. {If you drink more 1 tsp, you can die!}

When we were done…after the sun fully rose above the Mountains of Jordan, we got out and went over to the FIREHOSE showers, to rinse off. When we got back to our room I showered with my swim-suit on and then with it off….so I could clean it really good too. I also hand-washed 1 shirt to wear the next day as we were leaving, just so it would be ready, incase my laundry I was sending out to be laundered didn’t come until right before we left in the morning and so I could be dressed if I needed to go find it! You never know what might happen! OY VEY! My roommate and I hung up our swim-suits, my shirt, her towel and clothes on my clothes line, that we strung up across our balcony. We also rinsed off our flip flops and set them out there to dry.

When we went down to breakfast and I took my laundry to the front desk to be washed that day. It was only going to be $65 for a pair of jeans, a pair of capris, all my socks, a couple pairs of underwear and 3 shirts! I thought that was a great deal. I had budgeted to do this twice during my trip if I needed it and for a lot higher price. I PAID for the laundry service up front. 

The food at this hotel {IMHO} was the best in Israel! Everything was beautifully displayed and so fresh and yummy!

My favorite of course was the Babka Bar!!!! #drool

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The “salad” bar was incredible. I didn’t take pictures of the hot foods/chef area.

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When I teach my Beginning Hebrew class, I teach them Hebrew Script (cursive) also! I explain to them it is important to learn the Manuscript/Book Print at the same time as the cursive! Well, here is the perfect example. There was Hebrew Script everywhere, but for the most part it wasn’t specifically important to us to be able to read it, until now. The image on the right below…is the drink station. I kept having to go read it for everyone! LOL.

The orange says- tapuzim (oranges/juice)

The yellow says- lemondah  (lemonade)

The white says- mayim (water)

The green says- tappuach (apple juice)

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In all of our choices of things to do while we had this “free day,” I chose to go on the trip Bedouin Tents for lunch and Camel Rides! Phil said, “Once we ride those camels, we are over the hump of our trip!” LOL! It literally was half-way between our trip and funny at the same time.

Those who were going loaded up in our buses and headed on a long loop ride around to Arad. This city is equal to Ein Bokek but you can’t go straight there, you have to go way down, almost to S’dom and loop back up through a mountain pass.

Arad is the HIGHEST city in Israel and it is one of the oldest [3,500 BC]! The ancient area of the city [Tel Arad] was here when Avraham was living in Be’er Sheva! This is also the Canaanite city of the King who came, attacked and took some of the Israelites captive, while they were wandering in the desert! (Num. 21:1) In the end the L-RD allowed them to go in and slaughter and demolish their cities. This is also one of the cities that {good} King Yoshi’yahu [Josiah] had cleansed of idols (2 Kings 23:24) and it even had a “temple” with a “holy of holies!”

As we drove along the winding roads, we saw camels! It was crazy! Like you would see just horses grazing here in America.

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We came to the modern city of Arad. {In this city lives a Christian artist who has done some amazing work, his most famous is the Fountain of Tears, combing scenes made of Jerusalem limestone of Yeshua’s crucifixion with the bronze statues of Holocaust survivors. Watch the short video linked….it’s very moving!} We passed through it and on to the other side, headed back in the direction we came. In the top right image, our hotel is over those mountains! And in bottom right image, you can see Matzada!

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I loved these winding roads. I kept thinking how fun it would be to ride a motorcycle on.:)

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We came across a mixed herd of sheep and goats. With dogs and donkeys helping to herd them.

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We made it to the Bedouin Tents! The Blue team already in the parking lot. Pastor Mark was on our bus this day and as we pulled in and saw the scene in the bottom image, he said, “and in case you ever wondered where it is, there is Camel-Lot!” LOL!

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As we walked in, they had this picture opportunity. I said, “My husband is not here to be my camel.” So, Pastor Mark volunteered. HA!

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I got to see an Israeli Desert Fig Tree.

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First our group went into the Bedouin Tent, while the other group road the camels. The tent was filled with reclining pillows and mats. There are 35 unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev and Galilee. There are 10 recognized ones and cities have also been built especially to house bedouins who want to come out of this ancient lifestyle and be more modern. The Israeli government does not legally recognize them, even though most of them and their families have been here for 1,000s of years! Some of them run businesses like this of teaching the hospitality of Father Abraham, which they model their’s after and camel rides for tourists. While others have other occupations and trades. Most are shepherds with LARGE families.

Our Arab {Ishmaelite} Bedouin Sheikh who taught us, was very funny and informative. He explained that Abraham’s tents would have been similar to these, except portable. In the main tent where visitors are welcomed (at anytime!) there is a pit in the middle. Where there is a continual burning of hot coals. So that food and drinks can be prepared at any moment. Any and Everyone are always welcomed, even enemies! Your camels are watered, and your immediate needs are met.

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The first thing served to any guessed who arrives is coffee. First the beans are put into the fire to roast them. Then they are poured in to a “grinder.” (Bottom left image) The head of the household  grinds them himself, making a rhythmic noise that signals the entire camp and even neighbors that he has a guest! They all come over! The coffee is served in little ceramic cups. If the guests receives a full, to the top cup, then he is welcome and allowed to stay up to 3 days. If he gets a cup with only about an inch of coffee, when he is done he has to be on his way immediately. They served us the coffee, but I didn’t drink it. {BLECH!}

They also served us a special tea, which I did drink as it was good. I took a tiny sip to be polite and realized I could handle it. {I don’t drink tea normally at all but being on THM I have gotten slightly used to Oolong mixed in things and ONLY at room temp!}

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The Sheikh told us all kinds of things, wish I had taken notes! He described the wedding week of a bride & groom and how the family structure works. He himself has 3 wives and is looking for a 4th! He also told us THE BEST part of having so many wives…they are too busy fighting with each other to fight with him! LOL. I can’t remember how many children he said he had…maybe 15-20? The Bedouin population is the fastest growing in the world! It doubles its size every 15 years!

During the wedding week and at other celebrations Bedouin’s are known for their Camel races and games. I can’t and don’t even want to imagine riding a camel FAST {you’ll see why in a minute}. As they prepared our meal, we headed out to Camel-Lot!

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I figured out very quickly and that if you are going to ride a camel, RIDE IN THE FRONT! I rode in the back and let’s just say the HUMP is UNCOMFORTABLE!  I surveyed the groups and anyone who sat in the front was fine. Pastor Mark has been coming to Israel 2x a year for 15 years and had NEVER road the camels. So he decided to {top right image below-arrow}. He road in the back too. Let’s just say that was his FIRST and LAST camel ride!

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I have asked around and no one in our group got a picture of my roommate and I on our camel, but I did take these selfies. The bottom left image is the Camel behind us, who kept her head right NEXT to me the whole trip. It was strange, but I guess she doesn’t like having her head behind our camel. {These were all females, as they are smaller and more docile.}

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It was an experience to have once but I was ready to get off at the end. And boy do they make noise getting up and going down.

Next it was lunchtime! We walked into the Food tent and it was set beautifully! We learned the tent blankets are made of goat and sheep hair. All the colors of them are represented. So cool! There were low tables to sit at or regular size tables. On the other side there were even pillows & mats on the ground for reclining at a LOW table if that was desired. {This is how Abraham and Yeshua and his disciples would have eaten and ONLY with their left hand.}

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After a YUMMY lunch and dessert it was time to head back to our luxury hotel on the Dead Sea. {Some tour groups sleep there for a night! No thanks.} On the way back I made sure to take a picture of the closest area we could get to S’dom before turning north along the Dead Sea (image on the right).

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When we got back to our hotel, some friends and I walked over to the little shopping mall. I got postcards and some snacks. I was looking for some medicine I needed that I didn’t bring as there wasn’t any more room in my “liquids bag.” {Mary ended up having what I needed all along! Worked perfectly. The L-RD is amazing!} After we shopped we went into the Israeli equivalent of St*rbucks. It’s called “Aromah.” [aroma] It was good! Most of them had the coffee and a desert. I had more of a chocolate milkshake. I got Eric some fresh ground coffee from there to bring back with me.

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We got back to the hotel in time for dinner. My laundry was BACK in my room and it smelled divine! I didn’t even check it, just laid it on my bed and left.  The only problem was  I didn’t realize until later I was missing 2 shirts!

That night there was an optional meeting with our tour guide talking about political stuff, and I was exhausted so I went back to the room instead and packed. We were leaving the next day for Jerusalem. I was so tired, I packed and still didn’t realize the shirts were missing. I did notice that the receipt that came with my clothes was for a man in our group?? But I didn’t have any of his clothes, so I threw it away. I went to sleep, only to wake up in the middle of the night and it dawned on me that they were missing! There was nothing I could do until morning.

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What I didn’t know was that the same man had received my 2 shirts in his laundry. He asked at the meeting, which I was not at. No one knew whose they were and so he turned them into the front desk.

More from this trip:

Flowers of Israel

Animals of Israel

Trees, Plants & Fruit of Israel

Food of Israel

Israel Day One & Two. Tel Aviv

Israel Day Three. Ayalon, Atlit & Galilee

Israel Day Four. Boat, Kafar Nachum & Gamla

Israel Day Five. IDF, TelDan, & Mt. Bental

Israel Day Six. Yardenit, Masada, & Ein Gedi

Israel Day Eight. Kotel, Tunnels, City of David

Israel Day Nine. Samaria- Shiloh & Mt. Gerizim

Israel Day Ten. Mount of Olives, Garden & Ben Yehudah St.

Israel Day Eleven. Emek Zurim & Jewish Quarter

Israel Day Twelve. Jerusalem

Israel Day Thirteen. Municipal, Book of the Shrine & Jerusalem Day

Israel Day 14. Headed HOME.

Business Trip.

I haven’t told a lot of people, but we found Moses our 3 year old Golden Retriever a lovely home. Our daughter wanted badly to take him to live with her, but her male Golden Doodle and Moses DID NOT GET ALONG. Mr. Moses does not like other male dogs.

So for a year now it has just been the three of us. Eric and I are very busy and we travel quit a bit. When we would take him to be boarded he would RUN and get in the car as fast as he could, so excited to get there! He LOVED it at the boarders. So many people around and even the other dogs (as long as they are in their own cage! When we would pick him up, he would sleep for a whole day (from the exhaustion) and then just mope around the house because it was just me and him (mostly).

I am BORING. He’d perk up when Eric came home, and then go back to moping. When he wasn’t moping, he was outside barking his head off at anything, anyone or any DOG trying to even look at our yard! Our poor neighbors’ driveway comes along side our fence, and they couldn’t even get in our out of their car, without him sounding the alarm, and barking at them like they were stealing their own car.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was Eric has been having some allergy issues for a few years and he FINALLY got tested. The first thing on the list was DOGS. OY VEY! And we have the HAIREST one you can find!

We began asking around, as we wanted to find him a home that was the PERFECT fit. At first Eric knew a doctor moving to the area that had just lost his male Golden and his female was lonely. We thought that might be a good fit since he was ok with female dogs. But after waiting for a while for him to move here, the doctor came and told us that he wouldn’t be able to take Moses.

So we decided to advertise on Cr*ig’slist, but with SPECIFIC criteria to even contact us about him. I was worried about someone getting him that couldn’t handle a 100 lb MOOSE! In the end, RIGHT before I left for Israel (which was perfect timing) we took him to meet his new family! They are a retired, STAY-AT-HOME couple who JUST lost their 150 lb Golden Retriever in Feb. It was a perfect fit. They live on a piece of land with a fenced in yard but it also has a creek in the back. There is a huge park, with a walking track and dog park right down the street!

We have kept in contact with them and he is doing GREAT. They love him and he is very happy! and We are too.

Eric told me recently of his “regular” upcoming 4 day business trip, and then he smiled REAL big and said…”We have no dog, you can go with me!” So I did.

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Do I miss Moses? Sadly, only a little. I am just not an animal person. He was a sweet boy and I have lots of fond memories of him. But I do not miss the day-to-day aggravation (barking, digging holes, THE HAIR, rolling in the dirt/mud when I was dressed up about to leave the house, etc). Eric on the other hand, misses him a lot.

We also have been told we can go visit anytime!

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