I remember the first time I drove through the Negev Desert. It was intimidating. The endless line of rocks, the silence, the desertedness. While my other-half explained me how this view makes him calm each time I was about to burst into a panic attack. Its like being on a lost island, somewhere alone, somewhere without entrance and exit doors.
The next time it got better, and then by the next time even more better.
Driving through the desert today made me feel what he felt before. Calmness. Silence. Empiness. A venue to meet yourself.
I slept terribly badly last night. It might have been due to the heat, the far-close bummms, the too many imputes, my personal challenges, or by my following fears: driving through Be’er Sheva (one of the most missile hit cities) and the possible scorpion date in the desert (which I researched thoroughly before sleep)
Whatever the reason is, I slept only two hours.
As morning comes the first thing you do is check the news: 5 rockets hit from the North; from Lebanon and Syria. Lovely, Good Morning Israel- do not they have better things to do, seriously?
Quick coffee and packing, we are heading south. Yes, we will go whatever it takes.
Before passing Be’er Sheva I was certainly smiling less. Radio on all the time. It is a must. Otherwise you miss the azaka … and that can cost you a lot: your life for that matter.
During the three hours drive we counted 15 azaka, meaning 15 missiles warning… Can you imagine that? By now, I see that today Hamas woke up with a double espresso and shot 100 missiles to Israel. I assure you not as a cheerful present from neighbor to neighbor.
We passed Be’er Sheva safe and sound; 5 min later we heard the radio warning azaka be Be’er Sheva… strange feeling, and we are thankful for our guiding angels… each time.
It takes roughly 3 hours to drive to Mitzpe Ramon from Tel Aviv. During the way, just before you enter the desert it is quite useful to stop at the tank station, you know just in case you run out of gas in a 37 Celsius heat, or you run out of water, yeah, these things are not so much fun.
So we stopped to fill in our resources and soon we figured that the freshly recruited soldiers found the same venue for their stop as well. I have never seen so many uniformed people in one place. Neither have I met with so many soldiers in one place. Nor have I seen so many guns from so close in one place.
I would be lying if I would say that I did not get a stomach knot by seeing all those guns, but it is only due to my naivety that I have explained previously.
Being around 100 fresh Israeli soldiers, all with their gun walking proudly in their uniform made me melt. Sounds weird, right? These guys and girls were all so nice to look at. They were polite, smily, eating their sandwich vehemently and the only thing came to my mind was: if their parents would show up all of them would drop everything to run and hug them.
These guys are good guys. Well-educated, well-trained. The only thing they could intentionally harm is their beef, which landed in their sandwich.
None of them played with his gun, none of them showed off, none of them acted like an idiot (sorry) just because he has a weapon on his side. And this goes beyond the strict rules they have to follow, this is something else. This revels their character more than anything else.
My unofficial date with the army ended quickly and we were heading back to the road to the desert…
It was early afternoon when we arrived Mitzpe Ramon a city in the middle of the Negev, with 3,000 inhabitant, whose main activity is welcome and help the extreme number of tourists each year. No wonder why everyone comes here the area is full of miracles; UNESCO Heritage sites and the town’s highlight the Ramon crater. The city once serving as a camp for workers, then home to immigrants, today boasts for tourism, great number of artists, galleries and the Black Hebrew Israelites community. The latter one came as a new expression for me.
What it covers is the community of African Americans, who are not Jews but descendants of the ancient Israelites. The little that I got to know about them is that they allow men to have more wife… well, I need to dig deeper in this.
Having settled to our amazing little villa, we took our hiking shoes, 4 litre waters, our Indiana Jones heats and we headed to the Crater. The Sun was still strongly showing her power even though the time hit 5pm already.
The view, the air, the atmosphere is something that I did not imagine in my wildest dreams even – and I quickly forgot all the possible scorpio dates. Though I could formulate some sentences to express my feelings, my pillow is attentively looking at me…and perhaps some visual sights will make up better.