Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Well, we've arrived. Finally back to Israel, having now spent more time away than I have spent in the country. But that's about to change.

Nuweiba was a dream. I would have to remind myself periodically that this was in fact real and I was simply passing through for a brief stay. The beauty was imposing, epic and you began to feel as though life and dreams were interweaving in just about every way. Unforgiving mountains with not a drop of water to spare would meet the bluest and clearest waters with incredible reef lining all along the shoreline. Night skies were brighter than city lights, music was a shared language, and our food swam in the waters just before us. Sinai is a very interesting place, where three distinctly different cultures converge on paradise. There are the Israelis, who about thirty years ago owned Sinai as land taken during conflict with Egypt. Many still feel a deep connection with Sinai and consider it their home away from home. There are the Bedouins, who have inhabitated this very unforgiving land from time immemorial. They have become accustomed to a more "modern" (and I use this in the most minimal sense) life and now rely primarly on tourism as a form of livelihood. However, due to the rising tensions, Israelis don't come to Sinai as much any more and Israelis are the primary tourists, and the preferred tourists by the Bedouins, to this area. Then there are the Egyptians that come to escape the summer heat of Egypt. There is no love loss between the Bedouins and the Egyptian government, as the differing parties with their particular perspectives all converge in this place and attempt to deal harmoniously with one another in order to enjoy the wonder that is Sinai. Your ear hopscotches between Arabic and Hebrew continuously, while English appears so much more heavy laden of a language and thus disposed only to necessity.
The camp we stayed at was called Saba Camp and it was essentially twenty or so huts lined on the beach. Mosquito nets were your best friend at night and the rising sun, with intensity only found in Sinai, would wake you and invite, if not demand, a morning swim as the feeding frenzy around the reef reminded you that some things are indeed quite active in Sinai. The crew that inhabited our camp was quite the eclectic bunch, but a chevre (family) nonetheless. A young married couple living in Tel Aviv came for the weekend, teaching us Israeli card games and welcoming in Shabbat with everything from Hebrew hymns to the Beatles. The head architect of restoration in Jerusalem had brought several of his nephews and their friends (Americans) for a few days. He sat and smoked cigarette after cigarette, speaking about topics of great wonder and inspiration, and gave the most uncanny and insightful Tarot readings to everyone individually throughout the weekend. There was the middle aged couple, having met recently at a rave, that brought a comic and somewhat carnal element to the table. We all enjoyed each other's company, sharing meals, stories, music and the other simplicities that structure your days when the ammenities and distractions of modern life aren't around. And now it's back to the modern world, having arrived in Tel Aviv late last night. I'm currenlty staying with a member of the Chevre from Livnot and making plans for the next six weeks in Israel, which will hopefully include spending a few days with my long lost brother Maximus. We'll see where the next few weeks goes, but I'm hoping to get involved in several programs here in Israel, focused on community service as well as language immersion. I'll be making my way back to Tzfat soon enough to volunteer with Livnot and spend some time in the great mystic town. But for now, the white city of Tel Aviv...

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