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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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Muser
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 11:44:11

    When my seminary wanted to give us the camel riding experience, we just did a quick thing in what seemed to be a gas station parking lot, only a minute or two per pair of girls. Our program coordinator told us camel riding is fun for the first few minutes, but it’s not really interesting to keep riding the camel for an extended amount of time. Glad to hear I didn’t miss out on anything!

    Reply

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