Young Ambassadors Update: Day 11

23 Jun

We started our day like many others: wake up at 7, pack, eat breakfast. However, today was very different. I ate breakfast and packed my bag with extreme haste due to the fact that we were going to ride camels later that day. I had been waiting for this day the entire trip and was over the moon that it had finally arrived.

After a quick breakfast we boarded the bus and headed to the City of David.
Once there, we were led into a theatre to view a short film about what the City of David was. After sitting through a brief history lesson, we began our journey through the water-filled underground tunnels. For me this was very difficult due to my slight fear of very small, tight spaces that also happen to be in the dark. As we entered the tunnel, the water rose to just above my knee an we began our trek to the light at the end. Not only was the water freezing, but the tunnel was completely dark. We all were given small flashlights but that didn’t make much of a difference. After walking for a little while, the water fell to the middle of my shin and remained that way until the end. As we were walking, the group behind us began to sing strange harmonies that sounded familiar but only made the experience in the tunnel slightly more eerie. As we reached the end, the water rose and I climbed my way out of the tunnel.

After the tunnel, we walked back to the main city and had an ice cream break. I had my second Magnum bar of the trip and it was incredible. Once we had all finished our frozen treats, we boarded the bus and headed to an archaeological digging site. When we arrived there we were led into a large greenhouse looking place and were told to sit down. We sat for about 20-25 minutes and learned a brief history/introduction to what we were sifting for. We paired up with a buddy and began sifting through buckets of dirt from Temple Mount. Julie and I found many pieces of pottery and even some burnt bone! Jared and Adam actually found a really interesting coin and an ancient nail. After sifting for a solid 30 minutes, we went over to a glass case that showcased some of the more impressive finds which were sorted into categories based on what time period they were from. After finishing up sifting, we sat around and ate lunch…FALAFEL! It was delicious. After finishing up lunch, we boarded the bus and headed to the desert: it was camel time.

Once we reached the Bedouin settlement, we were immediately greeted by dozens of camels. I was so excited I screamed. Our tour guide informed us that we should work on our camel impressions because we were going to try and see whose was best. After walking into the settlement and sitting down for 15 ish minutes, we were informed of the safety rules and then guided to the camels. Maia and I ran over to the camels and picked out a dark brown camel. I got on the back and Maia got on the front. The camel stood up and I could not stop smiling. Maia and I decided to name our camel. After much deliberation we decided on Candice Habib Ziletzger (we combined last names). Along with Candice, the other camels (also names by the Young Ambassadors) were Sven, Shirley and Curtisa. After riding the camels for 25 minutes we were guided back to the settlement and dismounted the camels. Maia and I had to say goodbye to our baby Candice, but not before we took a billion pictures with her. Amber then told us to put everything at a table and then lead us to an empty space. She then instructed us to get in a line and put our hands onto the shoulders of the person in front of us and walk; but here’s the catch…our eyes had to be closed. As we walked around only being lead by the sound of Amber’s voice, we were faced with many problems. I kept stepping in Jared’s feet, Julie kept letting go of Sam’s shoulders, and then there was the small problem of constantly tripping over giant rocks in your way. After reaching our destination, the desert, we were told to take off our watches and walk to an area where we would be alone and to come back in 10 minutes. I walked to a small hill and took a seat. I found two flint stones and decided to keep them. I then began digging around in the sand for things and found nothing. After what felt like five seconds, Amber began singing this beautiful tune that was the signal to come back (I didn’t realize that and stayed on my little hill for another 2 minutes). After walking back to the settlement the same way we had walked before (hands on shoulders and eyes closed) we were led into a tent. In the tent we were served tea and coffee, out of respect and curiosity I drank them both. The coffee was gross and the tea was really sweet. A man dressed in robes and a head covering walked in. He told us his name was Muhammad and he began to tell us about the Bedouin culture. Some fun facts for you: Muhammad has 52 camels, over 60 sheep, 3 wives, and 23 children. After speaking a little bit longer, we took a picture with him and then we went onto dinner. We were served dinner on a large plater. It was couscous with a vegetable stew and chicken wings and meatballs. It was DELICIOUS. After stuffing our faces, we boarded the bus, said goodbye to the camels and went to our hotel. Once we arrived at the hotel and got into our rooms, we were given a curfew of 9 due to our 4
a.m. Wake up call. The next morning was time for Masada.

Jamie M. is a participant on the 2014 Bob Malkin Young Ambassadors Teen Leadership Program.

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