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Published: January 31st 2011
These camels crossed the road in front of our bus
Today was an interesting day as it was more relaxing than the other days we have spent here. Following breakfast we boarded the bus for the Dead Sea area and Masada. Today is the first day we have seen much traffic in the city, though we have been here since Friday. This city is full of Muslims, Jews, and Christians (I am sure there are some others thrown in for good measure). Muslims celebrate their Sabbath on Friday, Jews on Saturday, and Christians on Sunday. Therefore shops are closed all three days, so today is the first day that we have seen all the major religious groups out on the road going to work. Very Interesting. Our guide said he would like to celebrate with all three so he could always have a 3-day weekend.
One of the interesting things we did right off was get gas for the bus. Gas here is somewhere between 7 & 8 dollars a gallon so it cost almost $600.00 to fill up the bus today. WOW!! AND it wasn’t empty!!
We have brought rain to drought stricken Israel. It even rained in the desert - so Saed and Avi think we are
Ibex....like a mountain goat
good luck. All of today the only time it rained is while we were on the bus. The rain actually caused there to be green on the barren sand mountains on the way to the Dead Sea. It also brought wildlife out where we could see them which was great! We saw Ibex (like an antelope) and Hyrex(like a rabbit). Our guide and bus driver said we were lucky to see the wildlife as it is unusual to see them (they were out because of the rain). Refer to the pictures. We also had to stop in the middle of the road for a camel herd crossing…yesterday it was for a donkey.
Our first stop was at a factory that produces beauty products from the water and soil at the Dead Sea. These products are very expensive in the USA so we were able to purchase them for a greatly reduced price.
Next we went to Masada. I only know of Masada through the movie in the late 70’s. I can’t remember everything about the movie but I remember how it moved me. Masada was one of the fortresses built by Herod the Great on top of a
Hyrex...like a cross between a rat and a rabbit....we saw many!
mountain in the desert. The only was up was a snake path (so called because of its turns) which made it almost inaccessible. In 70 A.D. the last remaining Jews who took part in the Jewish Revolt against the Romans took refuge there. When they saw they could hold out no longer the Jews decided to commit suicide rather than become slaves of the Romans. They drew lots to choose 10 men to kill the 967 Jews and then 1 of the 10 to kill the others and then fall on his own sword. So when the Romans broke through all they found were dead bodies with the exception of 2 women and 3 children that hid in the cisterns and survived. The movie was actually filmed at Masada which is so awesome! The is a tram going up the mountain side which was a great ride. The views are amazing….kinda makes you think of the Grand Canyon.
From Masada we went back to Qumran for lunch and then on to the Dead Sea. Several in our group brought their bathing suits and got in the Dead Sea. You don’t swim there….you float!! The salt concentration is high (37%)
Beautiful view atop Masada
so everything floats….and nothing lives except one type of algae. It was a beautiful day and because of the rains in the area we say a rainbow that extended from Israel to Jordan….clear across the Dead Sea….awesome!!
Back to the hotel for dinner…a lecture…and bed….I am ready for a good sleep. Tomorrow we are going back to old Jerusalem to the Via Dolorosa….and who knows what ! Enjoy the pics
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