Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

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Holy Land Pilgrimage Day 60

We got some disappointing news last night right before bed. The forecast for today was for torrential downpours in an area that would potentially close one of the roads that we would have to travel returning from Eilat in the south. So, it was decided that we would not be able to go south to Eilat and see the Red Sea. I was very disappointed at the time, but our bus driver assured us that there was really nothing to see other than some displays of fish. It would also add another 5 hours to our already long travel day. So, we got to sleep in and leave later.

As we got up this morning some people were able to find some news in English (we actually had TV’s in our rooms here although I haven’t watched any TV in the last two months). Along with the rest of the world, we were very surprised to see that a suicide bomber had killed three people in a bakery in, of all places…Eilat. There hadn’t been a bombing since last April and everyone was puzzled as to why Eilat was chosen since it is so far away form everything. So it appears that deciding not to go to Eilat turned out to be a rather fortuitous decision (God is watching out for us). Last week we had even tried to change our hotel reservations to stay in Eilat last night instead of where we did. Apparently the bakery was in a residential neighborhood nowhere near we would have been, but it would still probably have been a lot of hassle to be in Eilat today. I wish I could have seen the Red Sea, but maybe some other time.

Our change in plans did give us a change to spend some time seeing a geographic feature near where we were staying. It is called Makhtesh Ramon. A “makhtesh” is basically a big crater formed when the earth’s crust bulged and then cracked and softer stone underneath eroded out. This was a very neat thing to see. This particular makhtesh is billions of years old. We actually had lunch right in the middle of the crater in a camp run by some Bedouins. After lunch we still had 3 to 4 hours of driving to do so we headed for home. It was a nice little 2 day trip to the desert. It gave me a sense of what it would have been like for the Israelites wandering there for 40 years. Still, I’d have to say that it’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

Makhtesh Ramon
Makhtesh Ramon

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