Friday, July 7th, 2017
This adventure deserves it’s own post, not only because of the places I went, but also because of the people I met.
Up bright and early 7am Friday morning to embark on a full day of touring. First stop: Masada. This archeological gem includes the remains of a fortress built during King Herod’s reign. It sits on the edge of the Judean desert, and is one of Israel’s busiest tourist attractions. We started in Jerusalem, approximately 700 m above sea level, and made our way to around 50 m above sea level, though this was not the lowest we’d go. On the way, the scenery was absolutely breathtaking. My first time through a desert and I was in awe at how small I felt amongst all the natural wonder around me. We even saw a few camels along the way, which was pretty cool. We spent a few hours at Masada, and this is where the small world story comes in:
I was first approached by a woman (who overheard a phone conversation of mine) who asked to confirm that I was from Panama (yes, my family is). She shared with me that she was from Puerto Rico, but what was even more striking was that she works maybe 10 minutes away from where I live in Miami! We talked for a while about what we do and our travels. It was so strange, but it gets even stranger.
Then, another lady asked the same Panama question (either I was talking really loudly or people are just nosey
or both haha) and I later learned that her friend (who was also on the tour and joined our conversation) has a pre-med daughter at UM currently. Isn’t that bizarre?! What are the chances that I’d meet fellow Miami-ans in the middle of the desert, on the other side of the globe? Of course I gave her my contact info and encouraged her to get her daughter to reach out and that small moment of networking was so huge to me. Whatever I can share with a fellow woman, or fellow minority, I’m all game. If it weren’t for those who reached a hand and pulled me forward, I wouldn’t be where I am now; and so I hope to do the same for someone else in any small way I can—even if just a word of encouragement.
So, this little family adopted me for the remainder of our tour day, and they were such a nice bunch. We ventured into the Dead Sea (finally reaching 430m below sea level…yes my ears were popping on the way down) and it was probably the coolest experience I’ve had here…or ever in life really. When you get there, you’re expected to smother yourself in mud, wait ten minutes, and then rinse off in the ocean. Can I tell y’all just how buttery smooth my skin was after spending an afternoon here?! Miracle water I tell you. I felt like a new waxed car- or something corny like that, lol idk. But I will warn any future travelers: if you plan on getting in this water, please be aware of any cuts/scrapes you may have because they will burn. The water is just. that. salty. On top of the fact that when you kick your feet up, the density of the sea will keep you afloat (no jokes, wish I could’ve gotten a picture. Very, very cool).
That concludes my adventure story-time. Oh! Once I made it back to my place (about an hour or two before Shabbat) I found a huge street party happening just a street away, and I spent my last few daylight hours jamming to Israeli techno music and stuffing my face with a topping-overloaded shawarma.
Peace & love & (& salt & camels & seas that are dead),
The I.T. Factor