On Monday, we woke up for the last time in Jerusalem. After breakfast at the hotel, we were on our way to climb Mount Masada. Riding to Masada was the first real view of the desert that I saw. It was really cool to be completely surrounded by desert and by only a few colors. Finally, we were riding next to Masada on the road and from far away on the bus it did not look like such a bad climb. As we got out of the bus and walked closer to the mountain, some of us were wishing we had taken the chair lift up. But all of us climbed over 800 steps up to the top in less than an hour! It was so great to finally be on the top when I made it. We explored the top for about an hour and learned about the history of the mountain as well as the land surrounding it. The last part of the top of the mountain was the Hebrew naming ceremony. Some of us were never given a Hebrew name and we had the option of picking one that meant something to us. Five of us chose to get a name. Then Yael and Scott surprised us with letters from our parents, which was such a touching gesture on their part and was a cool moment.
Then we had to go down the mountain. For most of us that was easier and more fun. At that point we were all very hungry so we ate at the food court there and also were able to do some shopping in the gift shop there. After lunch we were all excited to go to the Dead Sea which is the lowest place on the Earth! We went to a little beach along the sea. The water was super freezing so it took some of us a while to go in the water all the way. I was about ready to get out myself without floating because I didn’t want to freeze, but then I just went for it and it was totally worth it for me and everyone else. It was so cool to be floating. It was like nothing I had ever experienced. After an hour of fun there, we were back on the bus and on our way to where we were going to spend the next night.
We arrived at Chan Shayarot, a Bedouin camp. We learned about how they live and at dinner sitting on mats and off of a tray. The dinner was delicious chicken, potatoes, rice, corn, and hummus. After dinner we took a walk in the desert and looked at the stars. The sky was so clear so we got to see a lot of consolations. We ended the night by sitting around a fire and then spending the night in a nice heated tent underneath sleeping bags.
Susie Easton, George Mason University