I have not done a good job lately of recording my adventures here. But I have some excuses — been busy on walks with friends, had a long drive down from Tel Aviv, etc., including having to go to hospital to-day for a tendonitis. It is quite painful to walk and has been for a week, but yesterday was horrible. I finally stepping into the emergency room at Soroka hospital here in Be’er Sheva this morning and got it seen. I now have to limit my walking rather drastically, wear a thick set of bandages under my sock, and take some medication for a couple of weeks. But it’s better than being crippled for life, no? *grin*
Let’s see, I suppose I can share a little of my Be’er Sheva adventures thus far, but I will have to make a separate post for much of yesterday’s walk since it was pretty long and covered a museum and a national park! I would like to include some photos from that stuff, so I copied the pictures over and we’ll see about doing that to-morrow or maybe to-night (though I doubt the latter).
The ride down from Tel Aviv was nice. Took a little over an hour, and included views of wide-open cattle pastures and semi-arid landscapes. I was in the back of the bus with a few IDF soldiers, one of which had his rather nasty-looking assault rifle on the seat beside him. I got out in Be’er Sheva and then had that hard surprise about the missing shoe. (*sigh*) I could not figure out where to find a sherut (a shared taxi) that would cover the route I needed so I splurged on a cab to get me most of the way to Anat and Boaz’s place. The cab ride cost a little more than the bus trip, but totally worth it given how hard it was to lug my full pack with my leg in so much pain.
We picked up some food at a corner market and went up to their home, which is a really cute flat on the eighth floor (which we Americans would call the ninth floor) of a high-rise near the hospital. They have a great view down on a park and path to the university. It’s a much bigger place than those I’ve been seeing in Tel Aviv, which isn’t surprising since it is so much cheaper to live down here. Anat and Boaz have an adorable cat name Tika who is very mischievous and likes to play rough. Since I’m used to that from both Stef and Moshe, she and I got on famously from the start.
The first night we talked politics for a while, then went to a local pub even though Boaz was too tired for it (he’s a good sport, hehe). The next day was pretty full though it got a late start. I had pulled my back so slept a little longer thinking that would help (wrong!). Then I went for a walk in the morning before taking the bus out to Omer with Anat. I will cover those events in a subsequent post, though…. (stay tuned!).
In the evening they watched an episode of True Blood, then we played Settlers of Cataan, a great strategy game, for a few hours. We stayed up late playing and Boaz had to leave early, so I think my visit is being hard on the poor chap. *lol* This morning I went to Soroka, then took the bus down to the mall to buy my prescriptions and get some work done. I had thought to look for a pocket knife to replace mine, a new pair of flipper-shoes to replace my lost Rainbow, and perhaps go hunting for a good walking stick, but I’ve ended up on my computer talking to people for hours! Ain’t that just how it goes?
I should probably say a few things about the city so far, right? Be’er Sheva is one of the bigger cities in Israel, but there are really only three big cities so that doesn’t mean too much. It’s about half the size of Long Beach in terms of population, but it has a lot of the same features of the other big cities here — great public transit, big malls, a picturesque but crumbing and poverty-stricken old district, and some world-class businesses. It is also a university town, with Ben Gurion University of the Negev dominating the northern half of the city. There is a large research hospital attached (which you now know something about, eh?) and a bunch of really cool buildings. Israel has some of the most attention-grabbing architecture anywhere, and the dormitories look especially weird. And, before I forget to say it, Be’er Sheva is the capital of the Negev region, and exists just at the beginning of the desert. It has a dry atmosphere that’s quite easy to breathe, though it has its share of pollution. The creek that they call a river is completely white, as if paint had been thrown on top of it. Gross.
Anyway,… I did manage to ask some people complicated questions to-day, and though i did not understand most of the responses I did get the gist. I need to spend more time doing this, as it is really helping. Talking to people at hospital was especially challenging, as the orthopaedic surgeon was the first person who spoke any English and his was not very good. I managed to find my way through it, though, with a combination of questions and riddling out signs. Studying a language is a lot more gratifying when you are surrounded by it and forced to make your way in it.
I have to get to sleep at a reasonable hour to-night since I have to wake very early to-morrow to get to Yossi’s at 0730. Our walking tour of the old city is going to be a bit more complicated now, but I will manage. I have places to stay for the next five days or more, and have a couple of people looking for sub-lets for me. I think I will stay down here in Be’er Sheva for a while and make a home-base of it. I figure I can take day-trips to many sites, and for some longer ones like the West Bank I can couch-surf taking a smaller sub-set of my stuff in the day-pack, thus sparing my legs excessive torture.
I should get back to the house now and have some dinner, etc. On my way out I should also look for shoes again. I will post on the museum and archaeological site probably to-morrow, along with posting on my exploration of the old city of Be’er Sheva in the morning. Until then…