Monday, December 12, 2005

10 Minutes in Be'er Sheva

For the project that I have been working on, I had to get a specimen of Dead Sea Salt. I am delivering it when I go on my upcoming trip to the States. I know that I could have just driven to the Dead Sea to collect some salt for myself, but I wanted to make sure that I was going to get a good piece. So, I called up the Dead Sea Works which is now part of ICL. They're the people responsible for the "collection array" at the Dead Sea or the southern basin. Their PR people were really helpful. They collected these pieces of Dead Sea Salt for me. All I had to do was to drive to Be'er Sheva and pick them up.

The salt: the left one is about 20cm long and the right one is about 28cm. Cool, huh?!

I had not been to Be'er Sheva before, so I had to pull out the map to figure out a way to get there. One cool tool for finding your way in Israel is e-maps. It's the Israeli version of Mapquest. After planning my route, I called a journalist friend that zips all over Israel and he recommended a different way. Back to the map again... This morning I took his route. (For those of you in Israel, I took Hwy 1 to Hwy 3 to 40.) It was an easy, fun drive. I drove through rural areas and it made me think of NC. I got to see where the food comes from in Israel!

Here's a map to help you get an idea of where I went today. I "borrowed" it from the CIA World Factbook online. You can click on it to make it larger or follow this link.

I followed the directions that the PR guy gave me and drove right to the complex. But I didn't see the sign that indicated the building. So I spent some time wandering among several buildings and asking around until I found the right one. Of course, I addressed everyone in Hebrew which, in the case of trying to find my way, can be problematic. My Hebrew is good enough to carry on a conversation, but when it comes to specifics like, "Walk to that white gate right there. Press the small blue button and someone will let you in. If not, come back and we'll call someone." Well, that can be tricky.

The salt was in a big box when I picked it up and I unwrapped it once I got to the car to check it out. Pleased with what I got, I decided to have a snack before heading back to Jerusalem. I pulled out my yogurt, granola bar, and banana. I got a little yogurt on my hand while eating and without thinking licked it off. I quickly remembered the nasty taste of the Dead's super concentrated salt with lots of other bad tasting chemicals. Just handling the salt for a short time was enough to leave a yucky residue on my hands. Thank goodness I had my banana left to get the bad taste out of my mouth.

I didn't really want to hang out in Be'er Sheva for long. It wasn't as bad as I thought that it was going to be though. It's a bustling, dusty, industrial town in the desert. It's like a lot of Israel - growing and trying to find its way in the 21st century.


At 12/12/2005 9:42 PM, Blogger Ariel1980 said...

Well, Mazel Tov on your first trip there...too bad you had no time for the spas.

PS: Your Michael Stipe dream sounds interesting....but you deserve someone more handsome to flirt with you, even if it was a dream. He's really let himself go. It all started with "Shiney Happy People"....

At 12/13/2005 3:07 PM, Blogger Sam said...

I love that you share things like licking your hand and tasting the salt residue. It's great how you bring me into your world with the occasional little details.

At 12/13/2005 9:52 PM, Blogger Yael K said...

John, put them in the fridge --I brought home a nice big piece of salt-rock from my trip to the Dead Sea and sat it decoratively on a ledge in my kitchen. The other day I was noticed some sticky syrupy waterish stuff that had drizzled down and puddled --the Tel Aviv humidity was melting my salt rock and all over my counter!


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