day 3

Day 3 started with me falling asleep at 05:00 and then waking up a short while later at 06:30 so we could crush some breakfast. We had to fight the masses there over the kosher breakfast just so we could hurry it up to get to the bus stop for pickup. Today’s itinerary included lots of waiting for a bus that eventually showed up 45 minutes later, bastard.

Waiting crew.

Here’s us, waiting 45 minutes for the bus.

First thing we do is drive to a hill I visited the first time to pick up more peeps. I’m sensing a pattern.

…and we’re off. Cruising east on what I am guessing is Route 1, I’m learning that Israel has all sorts of terrain. From the flat coast, hilly Jerusalem, and then desert to the east and it’s all within like a 2 hour drive. So we dropped off some people at the Dead Sea and then we turned around and went to Jericho. Check out this sweet sign. I asked our other guide later about that and he was like “oh, that’s so people don’t go over there and act dumb and the army would have to bail them out.” He also said something along the lines of, people travel there all the time and have no problems. It’s the government that is causing the problem, not the people. Also, something about different license plates. Bloody hell.

Warning sign!
There’s a faucet on the right that is from the spring where Elisha turned the salty water sweet. It was out of order though.

So at the Dead Sea, we picked up a new passenger who was also a licensed tour guide. He ended up giving us a brief tour and info on the surrounding area. We were also right beside the entrance to Jordan (Allenby/King Hussein Bridge) and all I thought of is that’s where Gabriel Allon crossed over in The Black Widow and they stopped all the traffic for him. But we pass it and end up at the Visitor’s Center in Jericho where we eat some sweet dates and I can’t find a shot glass ’cause they don’t sell them there…makes sense I guess. We also got a local tour guide because that is the law it seems.

Those stones were part of a wall from 10,000 years ago.

At the visitor center, we got to see a camel in the parking lot, peacocks, and some old ass stones. Which is cool initially…but as I’d learn later “oh cool…a stone…a rock.” My friends got to eat some delicious falafel though. They said it was the best one of the whole trip. Not me though, I didn’t eat it ’cause I’m lame.

After about an hour the tour was over and we headed out of there.

Dude was trying to sell fruit by the tree where Zacchaeus climbed up. Free sample. Tasted banana-y.
Cruising by the date tree farm. They’re fed by springs.

Next stop was Qumran where they found the Dead Sea Scrolls and a lot of rocks. Like seriously, all the rocks.

We got to see the area where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. It was hot and we had to watch a 10 minute documentary on it. Kinda cool. Not sure if it was worth 30 shekels or whatever.
I went to the Dead Sea and brought my ruck. That place smells and they ran out of wine.

Followed immediately after by finally visiting the Dead Sea – fun to visit but not something I’d really do again. On entering the smelly water and stepping on painful rocks, you try to lay back and your feet just pop up. I thought I could sink but man it’s pretty neat. Then you rub some mud on yourself and that’s that. 15 minutes later I got out that mofo to try to drink at the bar but due to Passover there was no beer, just sadness (on my end).

So after two hours everyone is pretty eager to leave the Dead Sea and we all get loaded up on the bus. I don’t know about the others but I knocked out and then woke up when we hit Jerusalem again. We thought we were all getting off and skipping the Bethlehem tour (go geography!)but we only dropped off the half tour group there and made our way south to Bethlehem. Picked up a new Palestinian tour guide named Sammy who did a fantastic job of navigating and telling us what everything was. He took us inside the Church of the Nativity but he couldn’t show us certain things as the Greek Orthodox church was having a service (mass?) so we got yelled at by security a couple of times and went around and did more touristy things.

After that we got to eat in the town square. This is the best part of the Bethlehem trip. FALAFEL.

Best falafel I ever had. It was in Bethlehem. My peeps said the one in Jericho was better but I didn’t try it then.
Homeboy making my falafel. He didn’t wash his hands and touched all the money. Maybe that made the falafel better. Now I gotta learn how to make it.

We got back to the hotel and we both knocked out. We woke up at like 20:30 right before the pub crawl and I was hoping Kham would cancel but he’s a stronger man than me and we both dragged ass out of there. I’d talk more about this but I’m black on memories, save for laughter and drinks and deliciousness.

“Dude, you’re outta control!”

“No, you’re outta control!”

Pretty sure that’s not how it works.

Kham booked this pub crawl tour and that seems weird but it’s a cool way to visit another city. We were walking through the Shuk and it was pumping. It was the end of Passover.
A bar on the tour!

Basically, that’s 1,000 words to say that this was a fun day.