Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday August 18

Well, things did not start too well. At 3:30 am, I woke up to a car alarm shrieking outside. Then my brain sorted out the other noises and realized that Sofia was crying.

She had a bad belly ache, and eventually a fever! I was up with her for about an hour and a half, and then fell asleep on her bed for a hour. I finally managed to get some tylenol into her at 6:30, when David’s alarm went off.

So I was pretty groggy all day. But we got out of the house at 8am, and met our tour driver, Moti Barness. First he took us alongside the Old City, up to the Mount of Olives. The kids all rode on a donkey, which an interesting thing to do at 8:30 in the morning. But they actually all enjoyed it. And they all said “no” to riding the camel!

After some touring through that area of Jerusalem, we headed out toward Ein Gedi. First stop was a Greek Orthodox Monastery, where we hiked, with the aide of a donkey (and his handler, Yusef) to the edge of the cliff overlooking this 5th century wonder. Amazing to think of how it was built, and it’s still in use.

Micah and Sofia and I got head scarves, but at the top of the hill, the scarf guy turned around and demanded payment, 50 NIS for each. So I only bought one, which Sofia wore (very prettily). She loved riding on the donkey, and called herself Princess Fiona (the Shrek movies are amongst her favorites).

After that, we headed toward the Dead Sea area. Came to a rest spot at Sea Level, very interesting. Then stopped at a rest stop (called “Almog”, which was funny because we know a kid named Almog at home), and then continued on toward Ein Gedi.

Sofia kept falling asleep in the car, and was fairly adamant about staying in her stroller, so I decided I would stay outside Wadi David, the Nature Reserve, while the guys went in. I have to admit, I’m jealous. The pictures look beautiful. But Sofia and I hung out, had popsicles, and she watched some of her movies on my iPhone while I read my book (I got “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” out of the library for my Nook!).

When the guys came back, we had our picnic lunch (last night’s leftovers), and then drove to the Dead Sea swim area. It was a very steep walk down, and only half the way was paved, so it was interesting getting the stroller around. And Miss Sofia wasn’t cooperating - she wanted just to sleep.

Swam in the Dead Sea, which is such an interesting experience. Any cuts you might have really burn, so Micah had trouble with his eczema and David with the scraped elbow from his hike in the Wadi. Sofia did NOT like the warm, salty water, and then got some on her face when she tried to get out. So I had to carry her back up the hill to the shower. Fortunately, the kids on the Birthright tour that was there were very nice and let her get in the shower right away, and helped keep Micah and Sofia amused. I went back down for another “swim” with Sam. Then back up the hill, showers, and up to the parking area to change and find Moti (who was having his lunch while we swam).

Drove back toward Jerusalem. He pulled in down a side road near the top of the Dead Sea, and convinced a (very young) soldier to let us through into the Army area (as we drove through the gate, we saw another soldier come to yell at the first). Could see the border with Jordan, right outside our car window. And although we’d had to go through a gate to get in, we drove straight out onto the road on the other side of the area!

Back to Jerusalem in time for rush hour. Stopped at the Dan Hotel so Micah could use the bathroom. Sofia slept most of the way in, and had been sleeping since we got back to the apartment. David and Sam took a quick walk to the Hemp store around the corner (David loves Hemp pants, and both my hemp handbags are ripped), while I loaded the pictures and Micah and I both took our showers.

So here are all the photos from today's trip, plus a few from yesterday.

Time to get Miss Sofia awake and washed, and David into the shower, to get ready for the Bat Mitzvah tonight. This should be FUN. But I do wish I’d been able to sleep more (I snoozed a bit in the car).