Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Dead Sea, Romans Winning, and Hanukkah

When the Nazis rose to power in Germany in 1933, a lot of German Jews wisely got out of Dodge. They fled to Israel and created the urgent need for a lot of housing. They brought the Bauhaus design movement with them, and there are whole neighborhoods of it in Tel Aviv. 

Tell tale signs of this style of architecture is bright white walls, few windows and big balconies due to the hot sunny weather, and fun curved corners.

We were ready to spread our wings and fly away from Tel Aviv with the help of Budget. 

Israel must have a car theft problem because our car came with a password lock that you had to enter before you could turn the key to start the car. It would make a very annoying sound if you got the code wrong, and if you mess up a few times it would completely lock you out for a period of time. This sounds like a lot of fun.

Our route from Tel Aviv took us through the Palestinian West Bank. It was an odd situation to be on a highway controlled by one country that cuts through another sort of country's territory. There were militaristic looking checkpoints but it was a lot lower key than I expected. There wasn't any barbed wire or anything for example. In my head every border would be like a war zone but that wasn't the case.

There were a lot of signs on the road advertising beauty products made from the Dead Sea. I thought it was kind of funny that there's a body of water that is so noxious that no life can survive in it, and we've all agreed to call the actual "dead" sea, and someone was like "I have an idea, let's make product from this poison water and rub it on our faces!" You, too, can have a non life-sustaining body of water in your very own bathtub. We stopped at this Ahava joint on the side of the road and I think the salt salesmen there were saddened to realize that we were only there to use the restroom and buy some pizza flavored Pringles.

We made a stop at Masada, site of a great Roman victory.

"It is located on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea 20 km (12 mi) east of Arad.

Herod the Great built two palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE.

According to Josephus, the siege of Masada by Roman troops from 73 to 74 CE, at the end of the First Jewish–Roman War, ended in the mass suicide of the 960 Sicarii rebels who were hiding there. However, the archaeological evidence relevant to a mass suicide event is ambiguous at best and rejected entirely by some scholars."

We bought a ticket for the cable car up to the ancient fortress. One way. Ominous.

We walked back down to the car. It was a lot.

Lydia takes the fun out of complaining about things because she is pregnant. So I know that if a hike sucks for me it sucks for her worse. This baby is really inconvenient for me.

What could go wrong on snake path?

We learned more about the heroic Romans at the museum in the visitor's center. Is there anything those Romans can't do?

I'm essentially an amateur amphora scholar after that tour in Rome.

We set up camp at the Ein Gedi Kibbutz Hotel. A kibbutz is a like an agricultural commune settlement.

Ein Gedi is right up next to the skincare miracle working Dead Sea.

Later that night we returned to the hotel lobby to briefly watch some of the Hanukkah celebrations taking place there.

There were candles. It was nice.

Kosher doesn't allow for mixing of meat and dairy, which I really think that they should reconsider because cheeseburgers are like half the reason I get out of bed every morning. Anyway, there were at least two restaurants on the compound and one was marked (dairy) and the other (meat). We went with meatland for dinner tonight.

And god said "let there be meat!"

There was a giant light up menorah atop the hotel lobby keeping accurate score of what day of Hanukkah we were at.

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