Ok, it has been too long since my last post. The guilt mounted and here is the product. I have found myself getting lazy and just posting some pictures to Facebook without any commentary ...I highly recommend Bonnie’s most-excellent blog: (https://israelihappening.weebly.com) for details over the past few weeks (and keep reading it, they're great insights and pictures). I've been busy starting to do some work around here: went out into the field (some pictures to the right), gave a couple of departmental seminars (University of Haifa and Ben-Gurion University), writing, reviewing student work, etc. One of the sites I was taken to by Nadav Pezaro and Valentina Rovelli (awesome post docs of the Blaustein Lab) is a 2000 year old archaeological site of a Jewish town. Now, the salamanders are breeding in the old wine press areas. Old walls, columns, and burial caves are also found here. In this blog I wanted to highlight the history we’ve encountered, the natural and human history.
We went a day early to Tel Aviv before the Fulbright orientation. We had a great time walking around and stayed at an excellent hotel with a music/vegan theme (pics at the Carmel Market to the right). The orientation consisted of a morning of hearing informative talks from US embassy personnel and then embarked on a 2-day field trip with the whole Fulbright cohort. We headed south to the Negev for a jam-packed trip. We toured an agricultural and solar panel facilities and then walked the Ben-Gurion Tomb near Sde Boker. We stayed that night in Mitzpe Ramon and did a great night hike by the Ramon Crater, an unusual geologic location. The next morning, we hiked the Ramon Crater, just beautiful! We then had lunch in a Bedouin camp, where we heard about their life, culture, and had an excellent lunch. The difficulties between Bedouins and the Israeli government, along with the forced shift in their nomadic way of life, was disheartening and reminded me of the Native American tribes in North America…I’ll leave it at that…the afternoon was spent at the Avdat National Park, the ruins of a >2000 year old city, one of the most important along the Incense Route. Two weeks later on Halloween, I traveled back to Sde Boker to give a seminar in the Desert Ecology Department of Ben-Gurian University of the Negev. Hadas Hawlena was an awesome host and took me down to Ein Avdat National Park for a hike through the canyon along a stream to a waterfall. One of the ways out of the canyon is straight up on steps and ladders to the top.
The day after my trip to Sde Boker, we left for northern Israel. Please see Bonnie's blog for detailed description of this trip. It was a very diverse trip pushing and pulling us in many directions: hearing the shelling and gunfire of Syria to walking through beautiful ruins (Nimrod Fortress), natural beauty of Snir Stream, and a combination of the complex history and natural beauty of Banias and Arbel National Parks and the Sea of Galilee, lowest freshwater lake y'all! I'll have award Banias National Park with the most interesting natural/historical location that we visited.
This blog will follow my experiences as a Fulbright Scholar in Israel (University of Haifa) during the 2017-18 academic year. Also check out the family blog for another perspective.