Saturday, January 16, 2010

The bus to another world

Our Egged bus driver had lots of mirrors--good for the "Weekend Reflections" meme over at James' blog.
The drive from Jerusalem down to Ein Gedi is just over an hour.
As a senior citizen I pay half-fare for public transportation, so my round trip fare was only 36 shekels.
With my discount the Nature Reserve entrance was NIS 13.
So we had a full day hiking in the desert for only 49 shekels (about $13 or 9 Euros).

Just east of Jerusalem the desert begins, and also the West Bank.
Quite soon you come to a T in the road: left to Ramallah (the seat of the Palestinian Authority government) or right to Qumran, Ein Gedi, Masada, Ein Bokek, and Neve Zohar.
At the checkpost the back of one van was being searched. Our bus driver was getting worried about the schedule he has to keep, so he started beeping, gesturing, and shouting out the window for the guards to pull the car over to the side of the road and let us through.
What you see next to the left side of the road is already the Dead Sea.
While searching (unsuccessfully) for a good modern map to illustrate this, I came across a fine website with a map of FIRST CENTURY Israel! All the place names from the Bible, and Ein Gedi figures prominently. Check it out!


Lucy Corrander said...

It's odd, the power of a name. I noticed the water and thought 'ah, the sea'. Then I read your text. "Ah! The Dead Sea!" - and I scroll back up and gaze at the same stretch of water in wonder.


GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

I learned from clicking on the map that the Dead Sea is actually named Lake Asphaltius. Interesting. It would be nice to know that origin.

For some reason, the photo of the bus driver reminds me of the photo of your grandson. Perhaps it is the strong contrast from light to dark in both!

By the way, we're parked next to each on Weekly Reflections. I visit your blog anyway but I always visit meme neighbors as a way to see new blogs!


Rob and Mandy said...

Happy memories...

RuneE said...

I guess a bus driver needs a bit of overview, but there are limits :-)

PS I'm at present without an ear ;-)

Dina said...

Lucy, an interesting thought.
I like to think about that.

Rob and Mandy, glad your memories from here are happy ones.

Jan, the Greeks called the Dead Sea "Lake Asphaltites", due to the naturally surfacing asphalt. Later, the Nabateans discovered the value of bitumen extracted from the Dead Sea needed by the Egyptians for embalming mummies.

Even today, after a storm, chips of asphalt, probably dislodged from the bottom of the sea, float to the surface.

See Genesis 13:8-10 about the fleeing kings of Sodom and of Gomorrah et al. falling into bitumen pits.

Serendipity said...

I'm really enjoying learning a bit more about your part of the world through your pictures and writing. Jerusalem is top of my list of cities to visit - as soon as my health and my work schedule allow! Have a great weekend.

moneythoughts said...

Thanks for the post, I found the map especially of interest as I have never seriously studied the topography of Israel. To have such as nice day for so little money in itself would make me feel good. : )

Thérèse said...

The map is really a nice idea.
You must have had an interesting day at the Nature Reserve.

Leif Hagen said...

Fun to go along on the journey with you, Dina!

Louis la Vache said...

How is it that you qualify for the Senior discount when you are only 29?

The inquiring mind of «Louis la Vache» wants to know!

awarewriter said...

I like the view and the subtle reflections in the first photo best.

Dina said...

Rune, your photos of the biting ice teeth are fantastic! Can I send you my earmuffs? We don't seem to be having any winter this year so I don't need them.

Hi Serendipity, I hope you can come soon too.

Moneythoughts, yes, it is possible to do a lot with little money here. I always carry water and food from home.

Therese, you can click around in that website for Old and New Testament maps and more!

Leif, thanks for joining us.

Louis la Vache, thanks, but I know that cows don't know arithmetic. Mooo.
Actually, women over 60 get the coveted Senior Citizen card that saves lots of money at cultural events (sometimes), museums, parks, bus and train.
I think the men have to be 65, but not sure.

Aware Writer shalom. Yes, and I kinda think the driver enjoyed seeing himself in so many mirrors.

Kay said...

I'm having fun going on your trip now! I thought the Dead Sea was very fascinating. They warned us before going in that if we had ANY tiny cuts or scratches in our skin we would really feel the pain. They also told us the story of a kid who cannonballed into the water and was taken to the hospital. I wonder if that was just a story.

Suzanne said...

Sounds like your trip to Ein Gedi was eventful in all ways! I know that T, I always thought it seems a little odd. Take a left or take a right to get to the north and south. What a beautiful drive.

Erin said...

enjoyed your capture of the bus driver and his many mirrors...the background info about Lake Asphaltites is fascinating and how the Egyptians used the materials.
as always a visit to your blog offers insight.
have a lovely weekend

eileeninmd said...

Great post and I enjoyed your trip and the photos.

Nefertiti said...

il fallait y pensee ;O)

FA said...

Thanks to Jan for telling us the actual name of the Dead Sea and you for explaining it. I should have known that!