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Late in the evening, a scheduled bus drove up to the Sheremetyevo-2 Airport sparkling with thousands of lights. I have not been here for a long time, and the changes…

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From the desert – with love

Deserts in Israel are not dull tons of sand, but colorful mountains, deep canyons and caves created by wind, water and time. This is a carefully regulated living world, not emptiness, but space, incitement to contemplation.

Cowboys, Bedouins and cold beer

There were five of us. We lived in Eilat for three days and frolic in the water from the bottom of our hearts. We swam in the Red Sea just like that, diving with a mask near the coral reefs, taking pictures with dolphins. And we wanted some kind of land exotic. Maybe in the desert on a camel? Natural and exotic! Here it is, the desert, visible from the hotel window, it remains to find a camel. The flyer read: Texas Ranch, camel tours starting at $ 35, including Bedouin snacks.

There were five of us when we entered the wide gates of the Texas Ranch,

Ranch in Israel is already exotic! A cowboy movie was once shot here, and the scenery is preserved – the tree does not rot in the dry air.

There were three of us left when it was time to climb the camels. Two sat down on a bench under the hot sun of the south and said that they would be here waiting for our return. Their eyes were fixed on the house with the inscription “Saloon” and cold beer. But what about the exotic? But in any way – they did not think that the camel is so tall, they do not want to fall off it, break its leg and ruin the whole vacation. In vain, the “camel guide”, the Bedouin Musa, assured us that they were not camels, but camels, that they were quiet, that no one had fallen from them — there were still three of us.

My one-humped camel, nicknamed Tea, lay and looked at me rather peacefully, I climbed onto a warm saddle, my legs did not reach the ground, it was fun and not scary. Tea straightened its hind legs, it seemed to me that now I would jump onto her long neck, but before I could get scared, the camel stood up. To the ground, of course, it was far away, but it was comfortable to sit.

The caravan hit the road, the camels stepped silently and softly, we swayed to the beat of their steps and looked at the colorful mountains around.

Among the hills of light yellow color unexpectedly appeared other mountains and hills – now dark red, then gray, almost black. Sometimes it seemed that some chains of mountains were lit by the sun, while others were immersed in darkness, but it was a deception of sight – the sky was cloudless.

The gorge narrowed, we drove for about 40 minutes. It seemed that I could spend the whole day in the saddle, but we stopped at a spreading acacia. Musa ordered the camels to lie down, we removed the carpets from the saddles, spread them in the shade of acacia and lay down on the ground next to the camels. Time did not move; the light breeze that always blows in the gorge brought a pleasant coolness.

Musa made a fire, treated us to sweet tea with spicy marva and began to make dough from flour and water. Then he rolled it thinly and roasted it on a baking sheet. Unleavened cakes smelled of smoke, he wrapped them in brackish goat cheese – here it is, the promised Bedouin appetizer, simple and delicious.

Musa told us about how the Bedouins survive in the desert, about their mores and customs. “Here you are,” he said, “having arrived in a foreign country, rushing around the shops, buying gifts for relatives. And we, the Bedouins, on the contrary, presenting the one who sets out on the road, and the one who has overcome the difficult path, let the people living at home everything is there, it’s always harder for a person to travel than at home. ” And we remembered those who now drink cold beer in the saloon, but did not envy them at all.

Sea below sea level

When we returned to the ranch, there were five of us again. We did not begin to tell the two how much they lost, but we spoke the word “desert” so respectfully and rolled our eyes so that the two decided to visit the desert in a jeep. No sooner said than done. 37 dollars per person – and now we are looking at the Israeli resort of Eilat and the Jordanian resort of Aqaba from a steep hill, where we famously drove on a powerful SUV.

All guides tend to exaggerate. Listen, that’s how everything is in their country. But we have not heard this before. The driver of the jeep confidently says that Israel is a continent. “Continent?” I ask incredulously. “Yes,” he says firmly, “a separate continent between Africa and Asia.” And he explains: “Once geological catastrophes occurred, huge continental plates moved, geological layers moved. The oldest igneous rocks were displaced to the surface, you will see them. A deep Ghor depression was formed – the Syrian-African fault. On its bottom is the Jordan River, then Tiberias Lake (Sea of ​​Galilee), a hundred meters below sea level, and the Dead Sea, its shores are the lowest point on land – 400 meters below sea level.

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