We woke up with the sun... well, maybe a little later than that. I know the whole deal is "Sunrise on Masada," but the cable car doesn't begin until 8 am, and the only way up before sunrise is the snake path. I did the snake path once, when I was 17, so I unequivocally do not need to ever do it again. I saw a 14 year old who had gone up sitting, red-faced and huffing, as I strolled off the cable car. My thought? "It's good to be a grownup."
I think Patrick really enjoyed Masada (except for my broken record of "the heat, the heat"). I showed him some of the ruins, and we spent a half hour wandering around, reading the information and listening in on other guides' lectures. We went to visit the Masada Museum, which I would highly recommend. The audio guides operate on GPS technology, so as you walk from room to room, the guides automatically change. It's a very experiential exhibition, with lots of life-size statues combined with some of the excavated artifacts. Really nicely done. All my kudos to Yigael Yadin for excavating one of the most important sites in Jewish history, and preserving it for all of us to visit and appreciate and remember.
We drove on to Ein Bokek, where Patrick experienced for the first time the weirdness that is the Dead Sea. Ein Bokek is the southernmost beach, and supposedly had some nice sandy beachfront, but the part we were at had more rocks than the site I visited with the JWRP. I was a bit bummed, because I knew what it could have been, but Patrick seemed more fascinated by the water, and didn't seem to mind. The sea feels so oily from all the minerals, and the lovely aroma of sulfur lingers in the air, but it's all part of the experience. This time I gleefully rinsed off completely, not leaving one trace of the minerals behind. It may have not been as wonderful for my skin as leaving the stuff on, but this time I didn't care! Ha!
Driving back to Petah Tikva took longer than we planned, due to road construction and traffic. We had hoped to be able to visit Aviyam in Ramat Gan, but that was also before we had to visit the Dead Sea today instead of yesterday. We just ran out of time. I'm repacking as Patrick and Ilan go to return the car. All the fragile items in the carry on, some other stuff sandwiched between the clothes. We'll take Ilan to dinner before we head off to the airport.
I've put Patrick on alert that when we go through security, I am to answer all questions. I truly believe that if I shepherd us through, he won't be detained like he was on the way out. Anyone want to take bets? I think El Al profiles like crazy, looking for people who stand out, especially people who stand out and are not Jewish. Being the right-winger that I am when it comes to this issue, I'm okay with that. Unfortunately, Patrick traveling by himself, with almost no luggage, not being able to throw out phrases like "davening at the Kotel" or pronouncing "Petah Tikva, Givat Shmuel, and Ramat Gan" with the appropriate accent, stands out. My poor baby. I really think the travel back will not be a problem.
I'll let you know.