Saturday, 5 February 2011

Dead Sea, En Gedi, Gethsemane and Bethesda - Day 4


So it turns out the Bedouins owned camels and donkeys and we got to pick one to ride on. Of course everyone picked the Camels!

The camels are tall creatures. You can tell when they are seated - or more accurately, kneeling on the ground - but when they get up you feel like you are standing on someone else's shoulders! The process of getting up from the kneeling position is really quite funny. The guide pulls on the halter of the first camel. The first camel obediently rises WITH ITS BACK LEGS FIRST! So it feels like being thrown forward out of the saddle as the camel is getting up! I was gripping so hard to the saddle. Then when the camel stands up with its front legs the whole thing evens out - it was pretty fun. After the first camel in the chain stands up, all the other camels behind it stand up too - It was like watching the domino effect being replayed backwards.

Courtesy of Zhu Ping Loh

Courtesy of Zhu Ping Loh

I was so scared for Daniel when he went so close to the camel! They're pretty scary creatures because I'm pretty sure they bite. AND THE CAMELS WERE PERPETUALLY CHEWING SOMETHING IN THEIR MOUTHS! It was freaky - like a Willy Wonka everlasting chewing gum or something. Photo courtesy of Zhu Ping Loh.

Photos courtesy of Zhu Ping Loh.

So you know how we didn't shower yesterday because - well it was too cold to shower and the bathroom facilities were kinda inadequate and to be fair nobody felt like showering - so anyway, we made it up by going for a early bath in the Dead Sea right after lunch and then showering in the shower facilities provided by the Sea (how convenient for us tourists).

The Sea was so cold even though it wasn't too unbearable I suppose simply because it was supposed to have the lowest atmospheric pressure in the world at -415. So even though it was 'winter' there, we could still swim in the Sea (unlike our wintery Australia!)

So the water was VERY cool, VERY calm,VERY salty, VERY murky and VERY slippery. You can't see the bottom - the water sort of looks brownish green. But apparently VERY good for one's skin. Everyone who went down to the sea started applying the mud from the bottom of the sea floor to their face, arms, legs and body - someone *AHEM* even applied it to his hair/scalp - like it was going to do any good there.

Dead Sea - Courtesy of Zhu Ping Loh

Courtesy of Zhu Qing Loh.

Before we got over enthusiastic with the mud. Courtesy of Zhu Qing Loh
AFTER we got over enthusiastic with the mud! Courtesy of Zhu Qing Loh

Salty enough to float on the water without effort! Courtesy of Zhu Qing Loh
Washing all the mud off before going to shower - We weren't allowed in the shower rooms until we were spotless - which kinda defeats the purpose but hey - it's their showers! Courtesy of Zhu Qing Loh.


Panorama of En Gedi. Courtesy of Zhu Ping Loh.

Rock Badger in a Tree - mine :) I didn't really expect a Rock badger to look like this! I thought it'd be black and white like the old Badger in Wind in the Willows. Oh well... gues that's why they call them ROCK badgers - because they are supposed to match the colours of the rocks - which are most definitely brownish, limestone yellow.

Rock Badger in the Crags - Courtesy of Zhu Ping Loh

Ibets - The Deer in the Psalm referred to as Hinds (see how small its legs are that they can walk so sure-footedly on the narrow ledges and mountain trails in the Judean deserts). Courtesy of Zhu Ping Loh.

Our Israeli tour guide - Donny Brody.


After En Gedi, we headed off to visit the Sanctuary of the Dominus Flevit - which is like a small church/chapel built to remember the spot where Jesus wept for Jerusalem on top of the Mount of Olives. All of these places observe strict silence and no flash photography.
Dominus Flevit - the Church built to as a memorial of where Jesus wept. Courtesy of Zhu Ping Loh.

The view from the Dominus Flevit window - especially created to show what Jesus would have seen when standing on the top of the Mount of Olives weeping for the lost souls of Jerusalem. Courtesy of Zhu Ping Loh.


 Then we headed for the Garden of Gethsemane. We passed by a lot of cemeteries on the way.
It's a cemetery on the slope of the Mount of Olives. See the 'white-washed sephulchers'. Courtesy of Zhu Ping Loh.

View from the Top of Mount of Olives. You can see a lot of Jerusalem from up there! It's completely breathtaking and so lovely.

Panorama of the Garden of Gethsemane - photo by Zhu Ping Loh. Truth be told, I was rather disappointed with the Garden of Gethsemane. It was too neat and pretty. I was expecting something from the scene of the Passion of the Christ - you know - the moonlight night with dark shadows and huge boulders any of which could have been the one Jesus sweated blood on. Oh well....  at least these trees are supposed to be great great descendents of the ones that were alive back in Jesus' days. So that's something I suppose.

Another church to memorialise the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed and gave Himself over to the will of the Father. Courtesy of Zhu Ping Loh.

Depiction of Jesus praying - Courtesy of Zhu Ping Loh.

Altar of the church - Courtesy of Zhu Ping Loh.

High Priest Caiaphas's house and probably also where the Dungeons were. The signs below explain more about it.


Pool of Bethesda

I couldn't find a picture of Bethesda so I got one off the internet for you :D The pool is currently located within the grounds of St Anne's Church. The church had amazing acoustics - the sound echoed and dragged out beautifully even after we'd finished the song. It was fantastic.

1 comment:

  1. It looks like you guys had a really great trip. Donny Brody is a very special guide isn't he?


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