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Birthright Journal - Day 7

5/25 “Woke up this morning and I'm feeling burnt!” Missed breakfast. Good thing I brought pop tarts! We started our morning with a hike down a mountain. It was sooo much fun! Fortunately, for the first half the sun wasn't up that high, so we were in the shade for the hardest parts of the hike.

Oh yeah! I forgot if I’ve mentioned this or not but when I say “hike” I mean that there are stairs carved into the mountains, but also, there are ladders and rebar handles that you gotta climb. So it wasn’t a dinky trail you strolled through as much as it was the opening to Mission Impossible 2, but with handles.

Anyways, climbing down the mountain, I slipped on a ledge. I held on to those rebar handles for dear life as my legs dangled in the air for a while. They banged against the mountain, but it was surprisingly very smooth, so I just got bruises, not cuts or any

thing. I finally found my footing and climbed down the 10-foot drop.

--- Stopped at another strip mall/outside plaza place. Hummus Aliyahu. This location did not run out of hummus. “Sabra got nothing on you girl, go-go-got nothing on you!”

--- Mount Bental. This was an old military base that lies on the border of Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.

There were metal sculptures of little imp-like scavengers all the way to the trenches. I should have taken pictures of the little guys, but there were so many of them!

Can you tell where Israel ends and Jordan begins?

I whispered to a guy next to me, “What do you think all that smoke in the distance?”

Nonchalantly, “Hmm. Probably the war.”

Me “nonchalantly”, “Oh!” (Holy crap! The WAR!?)

Then we got to walk around inside the bunker. It was so cool! There were trenches, tunnels, mounts for guns! That was so neat to see! I’m also surprised that they didn’t outfit the bunker with a lot of signs and lights for tourists. It’s probably because it’s still too early for this to be fully decommissioned, huh?

There was a room where tons of people signed their names. I tagged my monogram and signed my name.

--- Oh Boy! Kayaking!!! And by kayaks, apparently, they meant rafts. So... rafting!!! I was in a six-person raft. We got two paddles, and weren’t allowed more, and we were ready to go! Then our raft went in the water. >Splash!< A ton of water went into our raft! Now we are sitting in a big puddle, paddling our asses off and hitting the person in front of us on the back of the head, and we brush through every tree hit every rock and boat. We quickly became the last raft from our bus by far! We span in circles and one time we even passed a raft, but that quickly fizzled out by the next tree.

Update: there were reports of the people way ahead of us getting harassed by Arab rafters. If we had Arabs considering spewing anti-Semitic words at us, it would’ve easily turned to pity as we ducked under branches and spat leaves out of our mouths. Finally, we get to the climax of the river, the small waterfall. We straightened up our boat, brought in the paddles, and caught our breaths as we went down the waterfall. ...aaaand we get stuck. It was like a log ride getting stuck at the top! The guys behind us told us to jump and tried to push us! We were up there for a solid two minutes (but it felt much longer!), contemplating how our group was the special needs group. Finally, “on a wing and a prayer”, we made it to the end. We might've been the last raft, we might have needed helmets (from getting hit on the head by paddles), and we might have held up the rest of the group, but we definitely had the best time! --- Fun fact about Israel: most of it is a no-fly zone; probably because of the war. There are no planes polluting the skies, except for the occasional military chopper or top-shelf bad-ass super drone.

Fun fact about the Golan Heights: mines were buried all around the Golan Heights, and because of floods and stuff, the IDF do not know where they all are, so anywhere beyond the fence could be your last!

--- Had dinner, talked about Israel and Palestine. Then we met with a journalist (Nathan Jaffey) to talk about the geopolitical situation of Israel. Then we hit da cluuub! Pool table, space to move around. I got jiggy with it (as the kids call it). The music wasn’t all bad! It was more of 50/50 between good dance-ey music and nauseating crappy “music”. All in all, I think today was my favorite day. Like, if we had to repeat a day in full, it'd be this day. Maybe our raft wouldn't get stuck next time!

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