Israel: Wholly Holy

My Friends,
   Been kickin it Mad N up in the Holy Land for the past few days.  I has been feelin it for the most part I suppose but the fact remains, I have primarily been trying to kill the time til I got my Kazakh visa.  After a Monday morning spent in Tel Aviv consulting with the Kazakh embassy I went to the Kibbutz office to see if I could do some volunteering whilst I waited for my visa to process.  It turns out that to work on a kibbutz there is more ground work to do than I am normally accustomed to doing and I couldnt actually apply to work on one if I was already in Israel on a tourist visa unless I was Jewish. It was the first time I ever experienced open and condoned descrimination in my life and it didnt feel good.
   I think there’s a joke here about the irony of the Israeli government not letting me go to a labour camp because I am not Jewish, but I’m not sure if I can make it tactfully so I’ll just move right along.
   With my hopes of volunteering dashed I headed to Jerusalem sans a passport (Kazakh embassy insisted on holding it).  Jerusalem was cool I suppose but I didnt love it.  I can appreciate the history and the religious significance but it was a little too pious for my tastes.  I spent the better part of the day actually looking for a place to rest my head and settled on a cemetery of all places.  It was actually a pretty good sleep considering the fact that I was in the middle of the city and it was quite loud.   
   From Jerayo I headed to the hamlet of En Gedi which is a blink and you missed it town on the Dead Sea.  What I liked about it though was the fact that it was a free for all as far as camping went.  I swam in the Dead Sea which was an experience to be sure.  If you’re not familiar with it, the Dead Sea is the saltiest body of water on Earth (and also the lowest elevation as I later found out) and it makes you incredibly buoyant.  I kind of just chilled there floating effortlessly for a bit till shit got old then I got out.  To my dismay, when I got out of the water it was only 10 am and I still had a whole day to kill in this little roadside stop.  I opted to start drinking as I figured it would make the day pass quicker.  As I was also reading a book the time passed quicker still and before I knew it it was dark.  I was trying to settle on a nice flat plot of real estate when Robert asked me if I wanted to come chill by the fire he was making.  WIth a resounding “oh sure” I helped him gather wood and we chilled by our little fire while drinking the little wine I had left and eating the snacks he had on hand.  As we were running low on firewood and empty on vino we decided to re-up on both.  The wine was no problem even though the aspie snack bar vendor wanted to argue with us on the exact pronunciation of the name of the bottom-shelf bottle of dry red we were purchasing for the sole purpose of catching a buzz.
   As if this weren’t insufferable enough he gave us a hard time about gathering firewood because it was techincally behind a gate that said “No Trespassing.”  It was a dick move because he tried to play it like we were in danger if we went back there but when we assured him it was ok because we both had headlamps to see in the dark he threatened that he would call the cops.  Eventually it was nothing but his aspie pride which caused him to stand in our way because we thoroughly made him look like a douchebag rendered even douchier by the lick of responsibility he felt he had. 
   As it turned out though we were more than ready to sleep by the time our existing wood burned out (two bottles of wine will do that).  Robert was a cool dude; an artist from Seattle, we talked about art, music bitches and shit like that and caught the bus back to Jerusalem in the morning.  From there we parted ways as I headed back to Tel Aviv.  I really like this city but I can’t stomach all the security.  Anywhere where there might be a concentration of people (train station, mall, etc…) has metal detectors in front of it with guards who pat you down.  It seems so short-sighted to me that in the face of potential violence they would treat everyone like a potential criminal but that seems to be the M.O. for most overbearing governments.
   Still there is a certain quality which appeals to the traveler here; I have met many people who started by traveling here and loved it so much they decided to move here.  For my part, I can see why: Tel Aviv has amazing beaches, its pretty clean and there is a certain cosmopolitan-ness to the city.  Perhaps you just get used to all the security measures
   Well, I just booked my flight to Kazakhstan as I got my visa today.  I have a nine hour layover in Kiev, Ukraine so I’ll get some borscht or something and do some sightseeing there.  I found out from one of the girls at the hostel I stayed at last night that I can expect a brisk -20 degrees Celsius when I arrive in Kazakhstan which will certainly be a shock after this relatively balmy beach weather in Israel and the rest of the Middle East but subjecting myself to misery is all part of the adventure.
   First Kazakhstan, then China, then North America for the home stretch.  Watch me crush a couple thousand kilometres real quick.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo
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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Israel: Wholly Holy

  1. Pingback: License to Ill | Write-Errantry

  2. Ukraine is sposed to be petty awesome and cheap as F!#%

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