The following was written on 08.21.11 by Rose Agger:
Although only five minutes into our trip from the Negev Desert to Jerusalem, approximately two-thirds of our group is unconscious. I am surveying their sweetly slumbering faces from the front of the bus while less-creepily reflecting about the past few days.
On Thursday, the docent lady in Independence Hall gesticulated wildly about how David Ben Gurion helped found the state of Israel on May 14, 1948. Later, in the biblical gardens, Neot Kedumim, we perspired heavily as we learned about ancient irrigation systems, planted snowbells, and ground hyssop (which later passed surprisingly easily through security in Tel Aviv). Several members of Bus 157 were nearly crushed by an olive press.
At a camp in Beit Shemesh, we got down and dirty in an appropriate way with a group of kids, dancing our tucheses off, playing soccer, etc. Sasha, Natalie, Whitney, and Josh R. were dancing queens. Natalie and the Israeli campers taught the Americans some dances that probably belonged in a EuroTrash nightclub, the campers taught us their version of the Cotton-Eyed Joe dance, and Sasha taught us how to “superman that **” (to Soulja Boy Tell Em’s “Crank That”). Now, if only Corey B. would teach us how to Douggie…
On Friday, we went to the old city of Jerusalem, which was gorgeous, but the ladies had to put up with extra-oppressive heat due to the demands of modesty. The open-air market, Mahane Yehuda, was crowded, bustling, delicious, and—fitting for a bunch of Jews—rife with bargaining opportunities. Many an exotic fruit was purchased.
For Kabbalat Shabbat, some of us went to an Orthodox service while others chilled at a poolside DIY service. Many of us stayed up very late acting like responsible, mature adults.
Come Saturday, ubiquitous under eye bags and sensitivity to light didn’t prevent us from enjoying a sweet lecture and chillin' by the pool. Alex M. and I kind of learned how to play a Russian card game from Alex G. and Itzik. Some dudes, (Avi, Corey B., Adam A., Asa, Dave and Eli), played soccer like pros.
After Masada Sunday morning, we floated in the Dead Sea and all the ladies complained of stinging nether-regions. Everyone slathered mud on each other, resulting in silky-smooth bods after it was washed off. Later, we learned about Ben Gurion, who very much enjoyed standing on his head. Like us, he did not get much sleep.
Then, we began to encounter wild beasts! Ibexes (Ibeces? Ibexi?) are mixes of goat/antelope/deer that are as cute and majestic as the little boy at Beit Shemesh who led all the dances. The camels we rode at the Bedouin settlement looked as though they were constantly grinning at us, and they have lovely eyelashes that made up for their problematic teeth. Matt and I rode Horace, who refused to take orders from General Adam, the leader of the camel line, who was incontinent.
Once again, we stayed up late, playing games and singing songs by the campfire. Although there were quite a few champion snorers in the large group tent, Tory didn’t have a sleep-screaming episode, so that’s good, I guess.
This morning, the stanky lot of us hiked in the desert and discussed the procreation patterns of porcupines. There was a pair of abandoned panties in a desert cave-nook. Several impressive individuals rearranged rocks on a very steep, sandy slope to read “157” and “Birthright DC 157.” Amit and Corey B. climbed to the peak—a feat proving their virility. I’m glad I’m not sitting next to these especially stinky men right now.
Lastly, as I was trying to get onto our trusty bus a few minutes ago, a man prevented me from ascending the stairs, and compared me to an ibex (yael in Hebrew). I’ll take that as a compliment.