Thursday, May 17, 2012

Holy Land Days 3b - 6 - May 13-15

We finish Day 3 with a lecture on the area we'll be in for the next few days: the Transjordan. The Aravat in the Rift Valley was Solomon's port of Alad. The Dead Sea, where we'll be in a few days, is 1300 feet below sea level, the lowest land point on the planet. The Transjordon, bisected by four river gorges (Yarmuch: ends in Yarmuch R Jabbok; E/W to Jordan River, King of Besbon; Elijah; Jacob returning from Laban - hears Esau is coming to meet him. Sends family at Jabbock - he wrestles with God and renamed Israel; Arnon Gorge dumps into the Dead Sea; Zerod - furthest south).

The five regions are 1. Golan in the North - OT Bashan; the prophet Amos talked about women lying on ivory couches "cows of Bashan". Volcanic high plateau, lava flow, some volcanic craters. 2, Gilead - Rueben, 1/2 tribe of Manasseh. Remote Gilead - Sual delivers people from the Ammonites. 3. Amon near Amman (city) Ammonite area. Israel can't take territory from them. David sends me n to mourn Nachesh's son. 1/2 beards cut off; David fights Maddiba and Amman. 4. Maddebah (Moabite) Plateau - disputed group of Moabites (Ruth). Eventually revolted against Israel during Omri's time; pushes Moab pasto. 5. Edom - Esau's descendants in the south. Capital Botzra - bounded on east by Arabian desert. 75 miles long, 10 miles wide territory. Controlled the trade routes. They tried to move into the southern kingdom of Israel (Obadiah's time) in the Negev.

Two significant roadways run through Transjordan. 1) King's Hwy - have to cross Arnon and Zarod ravines. Moses leading Israel thorugh the Transjordan but Edomites and Moabites dd not allow them. 2) Desert Hwy " or "Way of the Wilderness" difficult due to no water. In Israel, the International Coastal Hway was the most important roadway from Egypt north. Meets King's Hwy at Amman. Israelites laid seige to it. Damascus is N intersection of King's Hwy and Way of Wilderness.

Beduin hills
Beduin Shepherd Life related to Patriarchs: Milk and honey refers to the mlk of the shepherd and honey of farmer. Promised Land is on the edge of the desert, which is good for shepherds. Egypt hated shepherds - Israelites were sent north to Goshen (sheep mess up crops near the Nile). Israelites - kids led sheep out while parents worked their farms. Prophets spoke of the tension - agricultural lifestyle drew away the people into fertility cults. Drought 0 people sow with tears; choice is to eat or resow seed, but there was no guarantee of rains. Deut: "Eyes of the Lord on it but not watered." Depends on God's rain. Sowing: don't know if they've taken the food from their kids' mouths when they sow. Jeremiah rebukes those who cover their bases by baking raisin cakes to the Mother of Heaven (Asherah) the fertility god. Rekabites are lauded for never leaving the pastoral lifestyle. Drank no wine: had no tie to farming.

Mekbar - not desert but uninhabited pastureland. Joseph goes to find his brothers in Mekbar Dothan (S of Jesreel Valley) 3 most important people are 1) Abraham 2) Moses 3) David. Challenges of shepherd, self-reliance; shepherds were ideal leaders - kings were GOd's ID as shepherd.) 

Ps. 23: green pastures; lie down = satisfied and safe. Sheep dependent on shepherds for pastureland. Still waters: treachery of gullies. In rain, gullies are flash floods. Valley of Shadow of Death   shade is deceptive; can get locked in and swept away by water. 

Right paths - Eosine limestone paths - easy to get lst (markers) can go in circles and run out of water (not paths of righteousness). Jer 2 from Anatot - edge of desert. Water supply - no springs, cracked cisterns; living water was spring water (Ein Parat) Tekon where Amos was from, also no springs there.

The desert is God's classroom. Hosea says God wants them back in the desert to learn 1) humility - Beduin culture can't tell who is/n't rich. Same tents. Abraham greeted his guests in the front section of the tent. Sarah was in the middle section (family) - the third section is for storage at back. Deut 8: "I've led you all this time ... Man does not live by bread alone." 2) hospitality - care for others who are searching for pasture. Gen - 3 visitors to Abraham: you could stay without having to give your name for 3 days. Beduin tradition of 3 cups of tea: 1) welcome 2) under my protection; 3) for fun. If the cup is full, drink and get out! Live in community and help anyone out in the desert, even your enemy.

Moses and Abraham demonstrate the humility and hospitality. Sodom & Gomorrah sinned against hospitality. Those who do not receive you (discourse of Jesus), like rabbis, connects hospitality and S&G. Hospitality for a desert person honos self, others, and GOd. NT valuation of shepherds - C1 includes those in Luke 2.

Sabra cactus - prickly on outside, soft inside.

9pm. W heads out the door to buy water, water flavo (so we can drink more) and ? He thrives on the go. I'm absolutely exhausted from the flu and being wtih so many people doesn't help. W's making all the major decisions; I follow along as the path of least resistance.

DAY 4: Ps. 122 May 14

Aqaba - only Jordanian port. 130000 people. Service industry, surrounded by mountains. BC 3000 Bronze AGe, used to be Edomite in south. Moabite in middle of Jordan and Ammonites in the north.

Lots of building going on. Assyrian, Greek, Roman C8, Byzantine history. 172AD house churches. 325 actual historical churches above ground. C8 Muslim Ela - castle C14/15; Mumluck. We sing to Josh Taylor for his 21st bday. Aqaba is a taxfree zone to encourage growth. Rough concrete block apartments. 9198 pop. 50,000; now 130,000.

It's 12 miles south to Saudi Arabia - across the sea from Israel and Egypt. Gulf of Aqaba.   Lawrence of Arabia and Sharif Hussein revolted against Ottoman Turks in 1916. Attacked from the north, which was not expected. The Turks expected invaders from the southern port.

The seven-point star on the Jordanian flag represents the seven verses that begin the Koran. The rulers are the Mecca family of Hashebites (sons of Hasham). Saudi Arabian descendent of Muhammed. The current king is Abdullah II, the oldest son of the second marriage. 1. Turkish Egyptian queen (divorce) 2. Tony Gardiner (mother of King Abdullah II - British) 3. Queen Allia - Palestinian died in a plane crash; 4. Queen Noor - American - widow. King Abdullah chooses members of the Upper ouse. They are advisors; he also chooses the Prime Minister. The Lower House is elected by the populace. All laws go through Lower House. High level of freedom.

The Arab country - language (32 countries) Jordan is considered in the NEAR not Middle East. 5% Christians, 2/3 of those are Greek Orthodox. Freedom of religion and church, but no missions or conversion are allowed (jailed for changing faith.) 6 million population: 1.7 m are students; 1/2 people are under age 30. Average family has 6.7 children; 2.7% growth.

Stoney churchy sandstone mountains with large boulders falling in this seismic area. The mean age is 24. Jordan is the best-educated ARabian nation, along with Tunisia. Women's rights, education, etc. are close to Europe, according to our guide. There is 12% unemployment, but families take care of those without jobs. Jordan relies on tourists, mining phosphate and potash (fertilizer). 90% desert with less than 20 ml (-7") of rain. The Dinare is $1.50.

Tap water is ok for locals only. The Jordanian food is pronounced clean, but several - W included - get upset stomachs. While American people are welcome, their administration is disliked. 27.8% people in the US and Jordan graduate college.

1994 - Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty. The guide says that peace is not desired by leaders because they can get $ for keeping unrest. There is no trust between Arabs and Jews.

Beduin camp (tents top, dining area below)
We head for Wadi Rum, a valley 20X4.5 miles When we reach the Jabal Rum beduin  Camp, we find long tents of goat hair, red kilim sofa cusions and hnagings, and rugs laid on sand. Long narrow arborite tables are peeling, supported by 1.5' wooden legs. Black white green and red tassles are strung from the ceiling as decor. Our personal tents have two comfy cots, beding offered in plastic bags - we are told to shake them out to check for scorpions. None in our tent, happily.

Sandstone balanced; hieroglyphic gazelle
I change to a wide pink hat for our Jeep ride: Toyota and Mitsubishi pickups take us to the desert. We have a few photo ops at a sandstone outcropping. W and I skip the sand hill climb. Students and a few faculty scramble 150' up a sandy slope. Ouch. W & I watch from the shaded back of the pickup.We stop for hieroglyphics from C1-C3 Nabateans - camels, gazelles, their god Hedad are cared on the sandstone cliff face.  By 4pm, we're back to potty and change for the camel rides. My camel Alia is a good-tempered she. I marvel at the front and back kees, the soft pads between the two flexible hooves, and the double ankle bones.

The orange sand swishes to our faced with the wind. An old Beduin checks his text messages as he walks our string of 4 camels. The leading camel Sheham stops frequently to chew on desert shrubs. We try riding with legs dangling, cross-legged, and heels up to grip behind us. After an hour, we dismount and shower off the camel smell and red dust. Fluffy towels and wool bedding is provided. The music bellows at us from the tents up front. I guess there is dancing at the end of the evening.

I lie on the bed to gather stamina before our 8pm supper as the ARabic music drones. We sit around the open area and ch t until nightfall and supper. The chefs show us their method for cooking lamb. Coasl are headed for two hours in a wide pipe, then lamb is added, covered with a burlap, and heaped with sand to cook for two hours. The supper buffet has the typical cucumber and tomato salads, humus, ganush (eggplant) , tabouli (Parsley and lemon), chicken and lamb. Very good eaten under the stars. THen the music and dancing begins. I excuse mysef fater whirling around a few times due to coughing (flu residue. whew.) Drdums and men's voices continue into the night. We head for bed about 10pm.

DAY 5 - May 15

Above: camp fringes on dining area;
outside of tent with rope loop closure;
below, inside of tent with W's cot
The sun is up when the alarm goes at y:30pm. I slept in jeans and a coat under the heavy wool blanket. Nice white sheets, "Oriental" rug on the sand floor of the tent. In the rows of 242 tents, we're in $24.

Q&A - most Jordanians don't understand their own history. Teachers and judges are not well paid. "If you dont' know your history, you won't understand the present. Incorrect history written and taught. Have to understand what is happening in Jordon in light of the past. 2000 year history - constant invasions. C2 by Naboteans - compared to Romans/Greek. 

Women had more freedom before Muslims came. Benefits and drawbacks from invasions: less healthcare, education and social life. During the Ottoman rule, there was a social breakdown. The Beduins lived in a harsh environment, so have conservative values. Brought Jordan conservative - men do not wear shorts; women do not wear miniskirts. No talk is permitted in media about sex or religion - no movies of Christ as it's considered an insult of disrespect. Media is censored. Beduin roots of woman is boss behind the scenes. Shoes are taken off for lunch - shoes off on Beduin carpets to keep them clean; host serves guests personally to honor them.

1956 - until British rule. Greeks were here 2300 years, Romans 600 years . Jordanians are proud of their good reputation. Problems in Jordan 1) short of water; 2) neighboring conflicts slop over to a perception of Jordan that relies on tourist industries. Jordan tries not to support revolts. The King keeps peace.

The Jordan river in mentioned in the OT/NT. Bethany by the Jordan is the supposed location of Christ's baptism.

When we pass the American Embassy, we cannot take pictures but i make a quick sketch. The tour guide says it took $78 Million to build and 800 workers. Naj tells us that the royal family is well-liked by most Jordanians. They work hard bringing industry to reduce unemployment. They do not permit talk of politics or competition in business among the royal family. Queens and others work with charities. National sports are football (soccer) and basketball, "though we're not that good at either."

We're heading to the Petra Mountains, to Seir of the OT. The Lord asked Moses up on Mt. Hur, and we can see the white memorial marking Aaron's final resting place on top of Mt. Hur.

Graves at Petra
Petra is a 6 mile walk in and out. The caves look similar outside but have three purposes for the Nabateans who lived in Petra: 1) a large hole or reservoir; 2) tombs - rooms, and 3) trickimiums - counters that ran alongside meeting rooms and had religious use. There were three kinds of burial - in tower tombs, shelf tombs (on the ground) or royal tombs for rich families, caves with dark openings on the hillsides.

Nabateans came from South Arabia about C7 BC. They were Beduin traders first mentioned in Sela. By BC 168, they became a kingdom, trading for spices and herbs. In AD 106, Romans ended Nabatean rule.

In AD 325, Constantine gave freedom of religion, including Christians. The Bishop of Petra indicates that mostly Christians lived in Jordan, but they disappeared historically until the C12 AD Crusaders returned.

From 1500-1800, Muslim takeovers and the Ottoman Kingdom ruled. The Swiss "Abraham" archaeologist rediscovered Petra but told few people about it, fearing destruction of the site.

Petra used to have 7 inches of rain that channeled to the lowest point near the town. The dam and Nabatean bridge and manmade tunnels (that dropped the water level by 1 meter every 20 meters) drained water into the valley for flood control and water collection. It's a pretty amazing water system, sophisticated and controlled. The Canyon is a natural fault that has eroded by wind and water. In 1924, an earthquake destroyed the arch to the city, but there are still 2 niches where guards stood to defend the city. Two water channels brought hidden water from springs and stored water in cisterns along the pathway. After 106AD, Rome conquered Petra and built a wide road into the city.

Deity carved into Petra cliffs
There are carvings of camels and men's feet with sandals. The canyon is too narrow for caravans, which would have numbered up to 2000 camels. 2.8 miles away is a caravan station where Nabateans stopped caravans for security.

The treasury at Petra
One of the most fun things on this trip are the sketches I'm making for my own pleasure. They are rough estimations of what I see, not accurate to the smallest detail. I take time to sketch "The Treasury," not a place of money, but so-named by the Swiss archeologist because it was a national treasure. Cole Johnson proposes to Alecia in front of the Treasury. Everyone claps as she accepts the ring while W takes photos. The NU students are excited for them. We make it back to the bus - W and I walked an extra 1.5 miles to the base of the 900 stairs to the monastery. We were both heat-stressed and W's ankle was sore. So we decided against climbing up the hill. The students were moving quickly and left us behind. We're getting too old to keep up with them. instead, we walk the 1.5 miles back through the sand and W buys me an ice cream. I write 10 postcards.

Jordan highways have big speed humps, sometimes without apparent populations nearby. There are men on the street, but few women about. Our guide lived in the UK for 12 years and got an MA in Business & Computing Science. However, he earns more (a very good amount) as a tour guide.

Everyone in Jordan seems to have a mobile phone and texts or calls days and night. From the shepherds in the fields to Beduins leading the camels, to the tourist policeman who rides with us everywhere we go in Jordan... all on cellphones.

Every few miles a police car rests at the side of the rodad. We get waved over once but don't have to open the bus before we are waved onward.

Family life is governed by the mother, according to the guide and confirmed by other men. Men's first allegiance is to his mother. Most women raise kids. The society demands respect for older people: the younger ones stand up, don't cross feet, or ever talk back. The guys also make comments on my blond hair and light-colored eyes, "Blonds have more fun," and "ah, beautiful blond-haired woman!" I put on my hat and sunglasses and walk on.

We get to Amman, the capital of Jordan, 2700 feet above sea level and 450 ml rainfall (over 10" annually). 2.7 million of the country's 6 million Jordanians live in Amman. There are unfinished concrete buildings everywhere - it looks and feels like a developing country. More Mexico than Canada. More Malaysia than Singapore.

Day 6: May 16: 

Timeline from Naj the tour guide on the drive to Ammon from Petra:
  • 8000 BC - before people were nomadic - basic cultivation around 8000 BC Pre-Neolithic area of Jericho. Need water sources nearby. East of Amman, Ian Rasel (?) 7500BC first Jordan settlement 4X the size of pre-Neolithic Jericho. Very small rooms (no arch invented yet). Most people were buried headless. Perhaps ancestor worship of skulls?

  • 6000BC Neolithic. Farming villages with domesticated animals.
  • 3500BC Bronze Age: mesopotanian civilization Sumerian (first historical). Organized famrning, water control. Establishment of cities (administrative body overseeing farmers with tools, water, protection). Wars between cities.
  • 2500BC Abraham and Chaldeans - helps date the era of Abraham. Not a Beduin, but moved from Ur (s Iraq), and became a nomad. Haraan - came SW through Damascus perhaps, into Shekum - N of Jerusalem (Nabolos), all the way to the Negev. Tomb is in Hebron (Sarah) Abraham used trading routes not Beduin across the desert.  Lot went East of Jordan; have not found Sodom or Gomorra - perhaps NE of Dead Sea where he could have seen the green pastures he chose. Jordan used to be 1 mile wide. "Walk, do not stop," means  you are going to the Annon - haven't told you where you will end up. "Do not look back," wife looked back. Reading behind the lines, not physical looking back - but meant don't look back to your status and regretted leaving. Lot had been rich: Abraham and Lot must have had lots of workers and sheep.

Lot's daughters slept with him - Moab and Ammon. (Beni-Ami)

  • 1650BC Joseph made them bring the whole family - settled Jacob/Israel's descendents - grandsons and families to Egypt during famine. Joseph sold by brothers so he's already an Egyptian slave to high official position.  1250 BC MOses goes to Egypt to save Israelites. 10 Commandments at Mt. Sinai - found Israelites worshipping a golden calf; broke the 10 Commandments. Israelites meant to be in the desert for 40 years to have generation who would believe in JHWH. Sinai - at time of Moses, an Edomite king refused him the King's Hwy. Went to Sir Mtn (Aaron died there, buried on Mt. Hur).
  • Iron Age - Zerad. Israelites started to complain to Moses; doubted God's provisions. Snakes sent, pole of snake for healing. Moses couldn't fight the Moabites because they were cousins. Fought Seha an Ammorit had conquered Moabite area. Hen - refused passage. Moses defeated him - Nebo, MOses struck and did not speak to the stone, so not allowed to enter the Holy Land, buried in Moabite territory. Moses was 120 years old. Didn't have to fight the enemy in the Holy Land - home was heaven, so reward not punishment.
  • Joshua in charge - took Israel near Levias (Arama now, in Jordan). Two spies sent to spy out Jericho across the river. 12 tribes went in, 2.5 tribes returned - 1/2 Manassah,  in NorthGad (Jordan Valley near Dead Sea); Reuben near Nebo.
  • Jesus born 4BC at same time of Herod the Great's death. John the Baptist beheaded by Antipas about 26AD - Christ crucified about 29AD?
  • Selucid near Jordan; Ptolomese mostly in Egypt. 64 BC Romans (30AD Egypt; 160AD to Jordan, etc.) Christian persecution; Churches in caves; moral religion - but wouldn't worship emporer, but Christians wouldn't accept the final word of the Emporer as god.  Obeyed scriptures above politicians; challenge to Roman power.
  • 800AD - East mostly Christian
  • 633 Mohammad dies; Caliph rules from Mecca; invasion of Spain (Abbasids); Fatimat (Sheiite - black pages of Muslim history)> did not accept anyone other than Muslim, even Sunni. Crusaders came in to (Fringea - coming from French).
  • History - West and East fight - Mamluck, 1517 Ottomans in
  • 1921 British rule
  • 1946 - Hashemite kingdom of Jordan
  • 1948 - establishment of Israel
  • 1956 last British soldier leaves Jordan.

---after our run through history, we're tired.

We visit the Church of St. George, containing a floor mosaic of the oldest map of the Holy Land. we stand at the replica outside the church.. The church was built in the early 1900s to protect the mosaic. The map itself is very accurate but not to scale. I sketch away.

I am moved by the church. I don't know if I will feel very emotional on the trip. Students are hoping to "walk where Jesus walked," and do all kinds of religious things that they are attached to. I'm just here to see what comes and enjoy the experience to the max. But the church moves me. Icons line the walls and pillars.

 In a small room under the front of the church, old - really old - icons that I've seen only in pictures lie in their tarnished frames. This being Jordan, they are behind dirty glass or hanging cracked on the walls. Thinking of the iconoclasts who considered their ministry to the church to tell the Story through drawing ... I choke back the tears and admire the art of the Church. In the mosaic itself, the rampaging "anti-image-ists" have filled in the figures with random tiles so that there would be no idolatrous fishermen or other people. Madness. Religious madness that destroys beauty. 

Brass chandelier in front of the nave painting
of Jesus, two men, and an angel
I admire the bronze baptismal font that has served generations of new believers. The bronze chandeliers hang from the ceiling in front of the blue domed painting of Christ, a supporting angel and two men. I don't have time to do more than sketch quickly and get back tot he bus. I think of the worship that goes on, of the teaching in the school attached to the church, of how differently and persistently Jesus tells the story among us.

We're going south to Mt. Nebo, the second most visited site in Jordan after Petra. Even farmers work in the tourist business, points out Naj. They grow wheat, barley, figs, tobacco, and olives, but there's more money in service industries.

when we get to Mt. Nebo, the hilly country looks over the Dead SEa and Rift Valley that runs down to Lake Victoria in Africa. In 1933, Franciscans began to maintain and restore the site. An Italian artist scupted a commemorative pillar for the Pope's visit in 2000 AD. Franciscans are restoring the church at the top of the hill. They have put goat hair burlap walls up on mmetal frames, topped by a corrogated metal roof to shield the beautiful mosaics from sun and wind. "Goat hair opens with heat and closes with cold, holds the rain. That's why Beduins use it for tents, just like this one."

In 1917, the mosaics were discovered covered with sand since 580 AD. They are better preserved than most, created by mosaicists of Madabu. A 1917 sculpture commemorates the Israeli complaints to Moses and the snake pole that brought salvation. We overlook the Rift Valley. Below is the Dead Sea, and we can see into Israel, Jericho, and imagine Jerusalem and Bethlehem to the South. The site boasts artifacts like the 6th Milestone marker on the Roam Esbous-Livian Road below. I sketch away.

Heshbon on the main 4-lane divided highway is typical of the towns we drive through. We could be in Mexico. Concrete block buildings, square or rectangular. Many are abandoned, half-finished with rebar sticking out of the roof. The yards are unkempt or filled with garbage (Arabs are accustomed to throwing biodegradable trash out of their tents - and modern Arabs continue the practice, filling their yards with plastic bottles and bags, paper junk, and other trash. Apparently the houses are spotless inside.

Black Iris
The black iris is the national flower. It blooms in late April and early May, its deep purple plowers on stems just over a foot high. Naj pulls up an iris on his phone and I quickly sketch and paint it. The national bird is the Syrian rose finch.

We learn about Jerash, started in the Greek empire as a small settlement and continued in 64Bc by Romans. In 168AD, Romans wanted taxes and regional control so they built it up. In 180, Emporer Hadrian visited and they built a huge Jaresh Roman Commemorative Gate. OT scholars remember the Jabboth River where Jacob wrestled with an angel and became Israel. He rested in Succoth in the Jabboth Valley.

Waldemar and students at Jerash
The ruins in Jerash are all C2 and Roman. The Roman city was typically built in a flat area and a center for war. Temples to Jupiter and local gods abound, there is a hipodome (chariot track), marketplace, and central square (an oval actually) lined with enormous pillars and iconian capitals. The fitted edges of the building stones have a protruding center, typical of Roman architecture. Sketch, sketch. I paint when I get on the bus.  The theatre is amazing. It has three stage entries, the left one symbolizing the village, the center one the palace and the right one the market. Romans (all men acting and watching) did not need elaborate sets: everyone knew by the doorway where the action was taking place. The steps stretch up to the sky, thousands of people could have sat to watch, with the orchestra pit in front of the stage. The narrator would have stood in the middle of the orchestra, where the acoustics are amazing, telling the stories acted out on stage (actors did not have lines).

Three men with khaki dresses and red and white headdresses appear. The middle one beats a drum, alternating hands, one with a padded mallet and the other with a drumstick. On either side, two similarly costumed men played bagpipes. Yup, I said bagpipes. It was the strangest thing to sit high on the seats in the sunshine, listening to Scottish bagpipes playing an Aire, then Amazing Grace, then Yankee Doodle (which fetched cheers from the American students), then Frere Jaque.

Ruins at Jerash
We wandered the spectacular ruins of Gerash (Jerash) until 3 pm. After another ice cream, we're back on the bus for an hour and a half to the Jordanean border. It takes over an hour until every woman returns from the restrooms and we've had our luggage scanned and passports stamped multiple times in multiple stations. I think there are four stops.

Entry arch at Jerash
We have to take our luggage off again at the Israeli border. Our bus is ready first - but it's 7pm by the time everyone gets their luggage packed on the bus. One student, half Egyptian, has lost her proper documentation. We sit at the border while the tour leaders figure out who will stay behind and bring her to the hotel in a txi. The papers may take a few hours to process (actually, she arrives a half hour after we do. Silly girl.)

Our Israeli guide Ilan is happpy to see us. Our Red Bus driver is Shimon, a friends of Ilan's. He's a rock star - lots of fun and handsome with a long ponytail and happy swagger. He teaches us a few Israeli phrases: Hello: Shalom; How are you: Ma Nishimna; Please: Bevakasha; Thank you: tordah raba (much).

We pass the Sea of Galillee, which is dammed to provide 33% of the drinking water of Israel. We're staying at another C Hotel in tiberius for the next 8 days before we leave for Jerusalem. We reach the hotel around 8pm. The supper buffet is delicious and amazing. I'm gaining weight with all the great food! HELP. Since it's almost 9pm by the time we finish dinner, the leaders give us a break - we usually finish the day with a lecture, but we're weary and the border was stressful. Everyone is delighted to be back in Israel, to clean rooms, and drinking water that doesn't have to be bottled.

W and I luck out in a room at the end of the corridor. It has a shower that drains into a huge whirlpool tub and is quiet. I shower while W does emails. The twin beds are pushed together. It's 10:30 before I finish writing. Definitely time for bed. We usually get up at 6:30am for breakfast and are on the road by 7:30 or 8am. Tomorrow they promise we will have a lecture at 8am before we head out to several sites around Tiberius. We're looking forward to it. There's a cat in the corridor or outside in the alley. Wrarrrr. Time for bed.

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