So the first week of the dig was over a lot faster than I thought it would be. It took a couple days to get used to waking up just before 4:00am and then putting in around seven hours of digging in the heat, but I have to say it’s great here. The kibbutz has great food, there’s a pool, and we have air-conditioning (which we are thankful for every day). In D South 1, this past week has been full of pick axing, hoeing with terias, and learning the fine art of the bucket line. As the week went on, we started finding more pieces of pottery until we came upon what appears to be a wall on Thursday. At least we hope it’s a wall and not just some stones that lined up to aggravate us. After an initial few days of silent working in the heat, we’ve begun getting to know each other, making jokes throughout the day, and finding ways to even make a horrendously long bucket line to be funny as we try our best at acapella karaoke.
This weekend the majority of us made are way to Jerusalem. Taking a rental car was an experience in and of itself as we found ourselves lost in Tel Aviv and then driving around Jerusalem looking for a parking space. I stayed at the Petra Hostel right next to the Jaffa Gate. We spent our weekend shopping, wandering around the city, and getting some amazing food. I’ve never been to Israel before, so the street markets and the historic sites here were very different from everything I’ve seen before. To see the Western Wall in person, surrounded by hundreds of people praying during Shabbat is overwhelming, as the emotion in the air is near palpable. We also took the Rampart Walk, which was definitely worth the 15 NIS. It took around two hours to circle the city on the wall (which we decided to do during the hottest part of the day), but the views were incredible. At the very end we saw waves of people exit the area near the Dome of the Rock into a street of vendors hawking their wares passersby. The air was filled with voices haggling over prices and the shouts of the merchants calling in customers.
I can’t wait to begin the second week of digging (and get over this cold I’ve had – and have given to everyone else on the dig). Hopefully, there will be a ton to discover under the avocado grove!