Weekend of 5/14-15
We left Sarel, BatSheva in Rishon Litzion, after waiting for the other group coming from the north, which was late and made us worry about getting to beer Sheba on time. We got to Arad and Jessica Monica Michal and I jumped out of the bus. Grabbed our sleeping bags and ran up stairs-went to the bathroom, I grabbed a thing of crackers bisquits and peanutbutter. Monica grabbed one of my bathingsuits and ran back to the bus. It was the 9 of us and Phil, our Sarel madrich, going to Beer Sheba. He was to go to his home in tel aviv while we continued to Eilat. He kept making announcements on the ride to arad that everyone needed to hurry up at our stops bc some people need to go to Eilat. When people were asking me where I was going after sarel I needed to give a very long answer - arad, Beersheba, Eilat, Petra, Eilat, Beersheba, and then back to Arad for a couple of days. Yep, a couple of days....I can't remember the last time I was in Arad for more than just a day or day and a half.
So the bus ride to Eilat was uneventful. We got off and were really excited for the weekend. We had directions to the hostel but couldn't tell what a street sign said so we asked for directions. We were literally 5 mins away.
We checked into the Arava Hostel. (on the bus ride from Jerusalem to arad after shabbat last weekend Naomi and I had made a ton of calls changing the arrangement of the hostel and got the price reduced by half) we ended up in two rooms and Naomi and I slept together, bc otherwise one of us would need to be in a room of strangers and we just felt more comfortable this way. So we checked in and put our bags down. I went for a shower. Others were outside making friends with others staying at the hostel - a bunch of guys living on a kibbutz and doing ulpan right now - alex and zack twins from parkcity that were originally born in anheim, Garreth from South Africa who made Aliyah in oct and wants to be in the navy(met him when i was going to shower and him to pee), a kid from Toronto, hillel from Ny who had left ny bc of legal issues, nat or Nathaniel also from ny, and one other guy who I can't remember where he is from or his name...oops. Anyways, some girls were drinking with the boys, some stayed up to 3 and others went to bed around midnight. I went to be with the earlier bunch, we needed to get up for Petra at like 6:20!
Before I went to bed I went on skype and called home just to check in. When I got off the phone Jordan called me which was quite suiting. I talked with her and said hi to her mom for a bit.
We all woke up and got dressed and meeted up outside waiting for the tour to pick us up.
So in the facebook event I had written that the trip only includes lunch, a snack, and water. People asked me many times and I said that there is no breakfast. Do people listen to me? no, of course not. Jessica Michal and I had bought cheese in Beersheba to go with our crackers for the morning. Others bitched most of the day about not eating anything for breakfast.
Michal and Monica didn't get money the night before so they went with Tomer, tour coordinator, to get money and meet us at the border. The rest of us were in the mini bus going to another hotel to get a bunch of others including a bunch of juniors that are doing a semester abroad in Tel Aviv University. They were mostly from the east coast so while we were waiting at the border crossing into Jordan we played Jewish Geography. In the actual line for passport control I met someone from Poway who actually went to Chabad of Poway for a bit and went there for preschool and we knew all the same Jews but not each other. He is two years older.
We all cleared the border and walked through no man's land to the Jordanian side. We boarded our DesertEco Tour coach bus and started on the 2ish hour drive to Petra with our tour guide Alie. Along the way our tour guide told us about Jordan, the coast line, and Acaba-the fastest growing city in Jordan. Mt Aaron was pointed out, Aaron, Moses brother, is supposidely burried and is a holy site for Jordanians bc he was a profit for monotheism. We looked at the country side and napped. The towns we dove through look like Arab towns in Israel.
We made a pit stop along the way. We stretched and took pictures. Driving along we had passed these huge tents that people live in. They reminded me of Bedouin tents more more rectangular instead of circular. We passed them while driving so I didn't get that good of a look at them.
Things took longer than expected at the border so we didn't get to Petra till almost 1ish. We went to the visitor center after having baklava where we could go to the bathroom, get a map and other information stuff.
Then we finally started on our tour.
Here is a little blurb about Petra from Wikipedia:
Petra means rock in Arabic and is a historic and archaeological city in the Jordanian governate of Ma’an. It has rock cut architecture and water conduits system. Established around the 6th Century as the capital city of the Nabataeans. It was unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was indroduced by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. “A rose-red city half as old as time” and “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage.” Chosen by BBC as one of the “40 places you have to see before you die.”
So it was good to check Petra off our Bucket Lists. It was beyond beautiful but an exhausting day. We finally all made it back to the bus at 4, hot and tired. We then drove 10 mins to Petra's Magical Restaurant where we had a buffet lunch that was delicious. As soon as we entered the establishment we bee lined for the bathroom to wash our hands. There was an assortment of salads, rice, beef/vegie stuff to put on rice, chicken, fish, steamrd veggies and pasta. It was all yummy and it was supposed to be authentic Jordanian food but it's all the same to me. I love middle eastern food. And the best part was there was watermelon! I love watermelon season! We relaxed and then got back on the bus to head back to the border. We all slept on the bus. Katie got me back and took a picture of Jess and I sleeping bc I had taken one of her and Naomi.
We arrive to the Yitzchak Rabin Border Crossing and we are all ready to just get back to our hostel and shower and get sushi or something. I turn my phone back on and bc it says cellcom I decide to call home. I talk to my parents for a little bit but then had to go through security and passport control. We all proceeded through security and are doing fine till Elana's bag goes through the xray machine. And just like that we all get whisked away to the outside. Some of us have our bags others don't. Some don't have their passports bc the security personel were still holding them. We had no idea what was going on other than shit it's elana's bag again-there had been issues in the CBS in Jerusalem but they never had this big of a problem. Most people were by the exit but the 9 of us were kind of cornered off. Some security guards are talking to Elana and we are all amazed that she isn't crying. Eventually nothing is settled but they let us get our bags and continue to passport control. The security personel weren't allowed to share with Elana what exactly the issue was. While In line for passport control everyone is talking about it and us. We clearify that it wasn't bomb and that it's just her backpack. Everyone recommended that she gets a new one. We all got visas for a month. Sadly we were again reminded that we have just over 2 weeks left. :(
So eventually we all got back to the hostel. We procceed to shower in the 4 showers. These are the nicest showers I've had in a while. My shower in arad is a showerhead in the middle of a bathtub so there is very limitted rom, sarel is just a faucet head and katie's apartment is leaking a little bit. It was wonderful.
We put on clean clothing, and for four of us--Naomi, Jessica, Katie and I- that meant the same thing, black skirt and white tank. I got dressed first. I was outside hanging out when she comes out to tell us something. Naomi was outside with us in pjs and was like wouldn't it be funny if I put that on too. Do it! Jessica was like guess what katie is putting on? No! Yea! We looked like fools. It was funny.
We were all just hanging out at the picnic tables out front, drinking, playing cards and what not. Our game of bullshit was never completed.
Monica Michal and Hailey left to go to the infected mushroom concert. They were pretty out of it when thy left.
We were hungry so we went to the 24 hr store to but stuff. We really wanted to buy challah and eggs to make French toast in the morning but they didn't have any. We thought that everything would be open even though it was shabbat but it's only like that in the city center apparently. So we bought some chips and just hung out outside. Where we met some israelis from Beersheba that we hung out with for a bit. Eventually we went back to the arava. The boys weren't outside so we decided to go to sleep.
We all slept through our alarms for like 9 and didn't get up till 10ish. Let's just say we finally left the hostel at about noon which really pissed a lot of us off bc we were ready and waiting for others. Eventually we left and headed for the beach.
Eilat is hot. Oh and I forgot to mention that this weekend was gay pride weekend. It was about a mile walk but felt like much more. We finally settled on a spot, put our stuff down, and went in. The Eilat beach is not sand but rocks. The water felt so nice but the rocks hurt our feet. We laid out. Jessica and I went to aroma where we shared a sandwhich and salad and drank ice limondas. It was delicious and perfect. And very much needed to get away from everyone. What a surprise, people had begun to tick me of. We returned to the beach and beached some more. Then we packed up and started walking to the CBS. Again, some people took longer than others and we were running out of time so we had to grab a cab. We hate doing that. So some of us were even more annoyed.
So we had bought roundway tickets Eilat-Beersheba but Monica lost hers. At the ticket cooter they wouldn't let her buy another bc this bus was filled. The driver let her though. Since the bus ride is 3 hrs there is a stop where Monica was almost left behind.
On the bus from Eilat to Beersheba I finished my book-No Time For Goodbye--it was decent with a really good twist at the end. Good story, okayish writing. Since then i've been blogging on my iPhone in notes to be sent to email and then evetually to blogger. Can't wait for my phone to be a phone again!
Some things that I've learned about traveling with lots of people: don't! I should just give them the information and let them plan on their own. It's too much. We were 9 girls. Way too many girls for me to handle.
This week should be interesting with Shavout coming up. We will be in Jerusalem. Then there is Desert Queens on the 20th and I'm spending shabbat with Moty and Efi and hopefully I'll see Raanan and Sharon this week in Jerusalem. So once again I won't be in arad that much. But next week, last full week I'll be there the whole week. It's been almost three months for a whole week in arad. Boy! Does time fly.
We are on the bus to arad now and my thumbs are a bit tired from blogging so im not going to start on sarel quite yet. So goodbye for now.