am down in Eilat, on the Gulf of Aquaba. The winds are a bit firece and it is cold-cold, desert cold at night. I had planned a trip to Petra in Jordan because within my timeframe there were no group excursions in the Sinai and St. Catherine's for a sunrise or sunset on Mt. Sinai. Petra was available; $55 in border fees, $180 for the bus tour, diner and entry fees. I can't take my car any further and do not feel safe leaving parked for more than a day.
But before buying the Petra trip, I wandered down towards Taba, Egypt Considering all my trouble beyond the yellow fence on the top of Mt. Hermon finding myself in a Druze village entirely by accident, you'd imagine I'd be cautious with borders. But the waves were white tipped from the wind and it was a nice drive and after climbing Ein Gadi yesterday,(an oasis on the Dead Sea....the spring waters percolate all the way through the Judean Mountains from Jerusalem to this...marvelous place in the driest of deserts) to the upper falls and beyond, (an easy climb), to several hours atop Masada, and the Snake Path down the East Face of that towering edifice....(I though I could take the West Roman Rampart down, which I could, but I'd have to take a walk across the Judean Desert to get to the East entrance where my car was parked....I'm still not sure it can be hiked...the drive from the West Face of Masada to the main enterence on the East is one and 1/4 hours...I don't know what the walk would be, at night, off road).
So I took the Snake Path down when the blew a rams horn to close the mountain top...a cool touch....but a strenous monster hike down to be sure.
I think of myself as a wuss, and a coward, but the truth is that this trip has been nothing but physically taxing...Haifa to Akko (Acre) up to the Lebanon border, Nazareth, rock-hilly in a way that would put San Francisco to shame, hiking the Golan, the mine fields, miles of them, then the Golan heights, and finally, having watched it's white covered top for an entire half day of driving North, finally Mt. Hermon, Shemona return, and down through Beith Sean in the mid-Jprdan Valley, the bestest Roman set of an entire town's ruins possible....and the elegant marble collumns fall just like in a Hollywood movie....all akimbo and cracked into huge sad pieces....trouble again in Jericho, (the West Bank all belongs to Israel and I don't think any of it is being given back...except for the Bantu-ized towns like Jericho...that have guards and yellow gates (!)), swimming in the Dead Sea at 10pm all alone on an almost full mooned night...but I'll tell you the real secret to swimming in the Dead Sea...and since I was alone...it frighten me....you can't get out....no one ever tells you this...but you just can't put your feet on the ground and walk out; your legs and feet are too bouyant....you can't put your feet down, they just bob back up.
Very, very, very odd sensation. How am I going to get out of here? Out of this inky blackness with no help?
I'm sure there are various methods, but I back paddled in as far as possible onto the sharp rocky shore and with some labor rolled myself over onto my front side and crawled out like a baby with very little dignity.
But, as noted, I'm heading West out of Eilat and I find a beach, what the heck, give it a shot...and it is just full of magnificent fish, (I just happen to have my mask, with my perscription carved into the glass, and a snorkel handy at all times). Sure the water's a little wind choppy, and cold, but when you get out a ways it warms up, the wind is blowing on shore so I don't feel there is much danger of being dragged out to sea as I was off the big island of Hawaii.
I've gone up and down the coast, small as it is...and even the walk in snorkeling is just fine at several locations. I've injured my left shoulder somewhere on these wanderings...so swimming one armed is an...oddness....but I am learning how to do underwater video, and I think I'm getting it; pan slowly, a little bit of zoom goes a very long, long way.
But it struck me tonight at a fiaffel diner with a Miranda, (ummm, yes...Miranda, the best orange pop possible), that maybe I'm not that much a wuss.
Best Wishes, Traveller