Camels, Climbing and Crashing :)

3:00 AM.

I was freshly showered, curling up in bed, lights out, dreaming softly.

6:30 AM.

I was jerked awake by the sound of my Madricha’s voice, blasting over the loudspeaker.

“Attention girls! The bus is leaving at 7:00! Get up, get dressed, and get downstairs!”

I groaned, rolled over, counted on my fingers from 3 until 6, added the half hour, and nearly cried. I did whatever I could to avoid coming out of bed, but finally realized that if I wanted to catch our bus, I had better get a move on. Jumping off of my bunk bed in an impossibility if I like my legs the way they are, so I did the usual ladder climb; holding on for dear life, my bare feet gripping the cold, irregularly shaped metal rungs, I landed with a thump on the stone floor of my room that resembles an ice-skating rink. I skidded to a halt in front of my flip-flops, struggled into them and slumped off to the bathroom.

7:10 AM

After frantic packing (throwing sunscreen, sunglasses, hand sanitizer, chap-stick and some water into my backpack, along with my camera, cell phone and possibly some other useless junk) I ran to the bus. Funny enough, I was going with my friend, and we stepped out of our building into the cold Israel air, made an immediate right and walked half a block to where our tour bus usually waits, but lo and behold, it wasn’t there. In confusion, we turned and headed back to our building only to discover the bus was- get this- parked right outside all along; we hadn’t even looked to the left. Oh, the things we do on three and a half hours of sleep.

 

Skipping time. I slept for a while on the bus, we got to a random spot, davened and ate some strawberry yogurt, chocolate pudding, and a baguette. I usually get nauseous on the bus after eating, so I just had a yogurt, saved some food for later, and went back to sleep.

I woke up to a bunch of white plateau-looking mountains. This is the usual scenery in the Dead Sea area- all around the Ein Gedi area, and since this was our third time travelling to the Dead Sea, I wasn’t too impressed. We climbed some sort of stairs-hike, took a thousand pictures, and got back on the buses.

I slept again, as this is obviously my favorite pastime (and I’m generally sleep-deprived) and then we arrived at the camel riding…place.

It was a little after 12:00 PM, possibly 1:00.

We all used the bathroom, and waited around as the Bedouins loaded us up on the camels. My friend and I were partners, as there are two to a camel, but there were no camels left for us, so we had to wait while they went and woke one up.

Our camel was led into the corral roaring and rearing, yawning, chomping and making a terrifying racket. He refused to kneel so that we could mount him, and it took two Bedouins (one with a stick) and a stable hand to get him to cooperate.

We discovered later that he was “ah-yeif” which means tired in Hebrew, but at the time we thought he was INSANE. Everyone was freaking out, but the rule is, if someone screams while on the camels, they get taken off, no questions asked.

So my friend and I held our breaths, and together, we mounted the camel. Camels rise in a three-step process, which I can’t even describe because it is so confusing, but YouTube probably has a delightful movie, so head there to figure it out.

Our camel rose slowly, but jerkily, and I was sitting in the front, holding on for dear life. My friend and I were part laughing and  part crying as our camel was attached by string to the last one in line. Our camel had his face in the girl in front of us’s camel, and she was petrified that he would bite her, but he didn’t, which shocked me. A Bedouin took the lead rope and all the camels began to  clomp around a lame, smooth trail that took about 30 minutes. I am so happy the school payed for this experience, because I would beat myself up if I dished out money for camel riding.

I basically sat for thirty long, painful minutes, getting bumped around and commenting on our ridiculous looking animal. We named him MAD, for Mangy Anorexic Dragon. He looked beat up, skeletal skinny, dirty, and deranged. The Dragon bit came from the insane sounds he made.

I’m getting dizzy just thinking about the dismounting part, and I must conclude with the fact that I like horse-back riding a LOT better. (And I don’t even LIKE horse-back riding.)

After our non-exciting and painful camel tour, we loaded up onto the bus again, where I…how did you guess? Slept!

We ate lunch somewhere, then loaded up again (I think I only snoozed this time.)

Then we went to some place that has awesome colorful rocks which can be smashed into fine sand, so we filled up vials of different colored sand, working mindlessly for who knows how long. We davened Mincha there as well.

Back on the bus (you got it, slept again! I probably got a full 8 hour nap in 🙂 ) we drove to the Dead Sea, pulled out our food, and had an awesome BBQ of chicken, hot-dogs and great food. We heard close to 30 army planes flying overhead, insanely low and extremely loud, positively petrifying, to be precise. But there’s an army base nearby  so I was reassured with that information.

After dinner, we went back to sem. You’re going to laugh, but I slept on the way home, too. I then planned out my weekend with my friend, which was futile because no one can have us for Shabbos (waiting to hear back from my uncle in PT) and our biking in Binyomina plans got cancelled.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I do know that today rocked, literally, ha ha, and I am looking forward to the rest of my vacation!

Keep UNraveling!

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Tel-Aviv

The last notebook closes with a thud, schoolbags are deposited in the bottom of every closet, and the suitcases are pulled out. Midterms are finally over, and everyone feels the load of stress lift off their chests  (although they were mostly open-notes!). Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are our official winter break days, but we really got Monday afternoon until the following Sunday.

Excited as anything, we all schemed and planned, choosing paint-balling  rappelling, Eilat, Tel-Aviv, Mearas Hamachpeila, before finally deciding to sleep out at a friend in Rechavya on Monday night, with the intention of planning the rest on Tuesday morning.

So Sunday was school, Monday was half day, and then I went out with a friend from home, went to the Kotel and went to play practice  Our play is on the 12th and 13th of February- we’re doing The Marrano Prince and I am psyched! I play a man named Don Pedro, which has a lot of lines, so practice Monday night was from really early until really late. My friend and I finally got to Rechavya a little before midnight, and we hung out, ate Doritoes, took a walk and just chilled. We saw a stunning, super cool European type of car zoom by with sparks flying out, going close to 200 MPH NO JOKE and we freaked out,but all in all, the night was amazing.

We slept in an empty apartment that isn’t really anyones- the renters moved out and my friend’s family still has the key. We woke up late, davened and ate some pizza that my friends parents so generously purchased for us, and then after some tinkering on my friend’s moms computer, we were on our way.

We had decided to go to Tel Aviv, and three more girls were joining us. We met up at Tachana Merkazit- the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem. On the way, we passed HUNDREDS of people because today was Election Day. There was some guy on the train announcing the arrival of the Messiah, and we videoed him. He said, “There’s always a crazy person on the train, but I am not crazy…” and then he launched into his speech.

My friends and I paid for our bus fare to Tel-Aviv; the driver accidentally gave us Minors’ Fare, which is half price, and I fell asleep on the way. My friends took pictures of me sleeping, whihc they found hilarious and I found annoying, but I quickly forgot about the incident as we arrived in Tel-Aviv.

The city is a mixture of Manhattan and Brooklyn, with Israeli accents and crazy fashionistas parading the streets. We took another bus to some street, hopped off and pushed through the crowded sidewalks until we arrived at the Tel-Aviv beach.

Located on the Mediterranean Sea (eyeonisrael.com) the beach was a sight to behold. My friends and I arrived a while before sunset, and so we davened Mincha and thenjumped around, took a billion pictures, and watched the sun go down. The beach was packed, and my friend and I had a fake boxing match, complete with her rolling around in the sand as I “attacked” her viciously.

It was really fun, but after dark, we put our socks and shoes back on and, shivering slightly, we made our way to a main mall in Tel-Aviv. We were looking for Forever21, but we were in the wrong mall, and after chilling in a guitar store for a while (my friend is a genius guitar player), we headed back to Jerusalem. We had been in Tel-Aviv for over 4 hours, and we were all WIPED.

We ate in different restaurants in Tachana back in Jerusalem; I got a great salad and a calzone, because all I had eaten was 2 slices of pizza, an apple and a Coke.

Then we raced each other back to school, where a rather boring Jewish movie was playing, but we sat down, ate greasy popcorn and threw it at each other, imitated the movie, got up and sang along with it, and now here I am, wasting time and eating ice cream.

Tomorrow the school is taking us camel riding, G-d willing, in less than 4 hours, to be precise, so I NEED to go to sleep- I’m INSANE!

Have a great day- enjoy YOUR winter break! Yeah, the weather here is INSANELY gorgeous!

 

Keep UNraveling!

Just an Update

Sem is really great. I’m scared of the fact that time flies so fast; I don’t ever want these golden days to end.

I finally spoke to my principal a few days ago and it was amazing- he is a genius and he is SUPER nice! I really liked talking to him- and theres two more teachers I really enjoy speaking with. I’m so glad I found mentors- yay! Happy dance.

I’ve had some interesting experiences recently- Israel is FULL of them. Just walking around is such a cultural experience…I went to CafeCafe tonight to meet with someone and these two guys asked us to move over, because they were filming a movie or something. It was a little weird, actually. And this old russian man walked past us and said, G-d bless you!

Like I said, interesting experiences.

I had good food for dinner (for once, yay!)

We had tryouts for our play on MOnday (I tried out for drama and dance).

Weather’s been getting kinda cold.

I’m really not feeling well (so much for the golden days, ha ha) I have a cold and headache.

Midterms are coming up soon, and tehn a few days of winter break.

I’m going with my friend to a Moshav this Shabbos, iyH.

We had a tzniyus Yom Iyun today, and it was kinda scary, marrying a Shloime guy vs. a Yummy guy (one who checks out girls and one who doesn’t, basically.) The speaker used to trade on Wall Street- a lady! It was kinda cool, but what’s even cooler is how she lives her life now.

Israel is full of so many amazing people, who’se lives are dominated by Judaism, yet they still have amazing personalities, styles, careers, families, etc.

When you’re jewish, you really don’t miss out. 🙂

Keep UNraveling!

 

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