Day 114 of 400: Negev Desert – Israel

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Eight small little bowls of different dips…creamy cheeses, garlic roasted eggplant, humus, olives, butter, fresh loaf of bread, a larger bowl of cut veggies and a few hard-boiled eggs was delivered to the front door of our Zimmer for breakfast.  The cheeses were straight from the family farm.  This was a typical Israeli breakfast although a little more artesian since it came straight from the farm.  Three of us sat outside eating breakfast while the fourth was just up over the hill getting a shiatsu massage!  Then, that person would come down and we would switch.  The massage was done in a small room on the floor with gentle cultural music quietly playing.  The woman was very medicinal…she would gently apply pressure with her fingers and palm to various areas of the body.  The temperature was warm, the music was soft and she was practicing this gentle therapy on us while chanting.  This therapy is supposed to be very healing to the autonomic nervous system.  After a quiet night in the desert…it was a great way to stay relaxed through the morning.

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday…as we were getting ready for bed…I swear I heard what sounded like bombs going off.  They were distant but I heard them.  When I brought it to Giff’s attention…he looked at me like I was crazy.  When I woke up…I heard these bombs again and this time, made Giff stop to listen…he heard them too.  We found out that once every six months they launch missiles for practice into a specific area of the desert.  Giff and Ayal went out to get some cash and saw some of these army tanks driving on the side of the road (see our pictures).  If we had been by ourselves…this would definitely had freaked us out.  It doesn’t exactly give you the warm and fuzzies to hear bombs going off in Israel and see the big tanks driving on the rocky hills!  Ayal however explained as he smiled that this was totally normal.  While we’re on the topic of military.  We had seen the troops at the Western Wall with all their guns practicing for their graduation but it isn’t rare in the slightest to see military men carrying machine guns where ever they are…off duty or on duty, in uniform or not.  So…for example, we were in the gas station and saw an 18 yr old kid walk by in his t-shirt and shorts with a machine gun slung over his shoulder…no big deal!  This seemed very odd to us…yes, our army has guns but no we do not see them on a daily basis.  Ayal explained to us that every Israeli citizen has to be in the military from age 18-21 years old, both men and women.  So…yes, you will see them carrying their guns.  He thought it was so weird that we thought it was weird to see random people carrying a machine gun as they stood in line to get a carton of milk.

We left our Zimmer and took the long drive back to Tel Aviv.  After having a little down time back at Ayal’s aunt’s house we went out to dinner at a trendy restaurant in the city.  We sat at the bar and shared dinner and met up with a couple of Ayal’s friends.    It was late but we made a quick stop for a drink at another bar with live music where Ayal’s sister was meeting us before heading home to bed.

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