Welcome to the Dharma Initiative: Day One

I’m aware that I have disappeared for a week and that I have left the Jordan trip in mid telling, but the reason for both is that we’ve been traveling around the northern part of Israel for a little while now. We’ll get back to Jordan later, but if I don’t blog about our trip now it probably won’t happen. (Or at least without as much gusto).

On Sunday, October 11th we woke up early(ish) and boarded a bus headed for what we hoped was the Jerusalem train station. It was, but since I had it in my mind that we were pretty much 30 minutes from everywhere, the one hour bus ride caused us to miss our train by 10 minutes. The next train wasn’t for two hours, but I finished up some homework in the station and Max read his book about Masons (nothing having to do with Robert Langdon). The train was fine, but the last leg was especially nice as we drove along the coast through Tel Aviv and Haifa in order to get to Nahariyya.

In Nahariyya we met two the nicest Israeli’s we’ve met so far. One of them figured out which bus we needed to take into our next and final destination of Akhziv (about 20 minutes north of Nahariyya) and fetched us from our restaurant close by to tell us when it was leaving. The next nicest-person-in-Israel that we met was actually boarding the bus with us and she talked to the driver for us before we got on. It was dark, we were sans map, and the place we were headed, the West Galilee or Akhziv Field School, was on the side of a pretty barren road – hard to find. This dear woman talked to the bus driver several times for us and came up from the back when it was near our stop and told us that it was time us to get off. Gem.

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A note about not traveling with a map. It’s not that I don’t recognize the value of map, I do. In fact, I was intending to buy one when we got to Nahariyya, but none could be found. The combination of Max’s Hebrew and the reassurance that we could always pull out our laptop and find a map helped us press on with courage. …really nice and really informed strangers make things possible also.

We arrived at the Akhziv Field School after dark and a very nice woman checked us into an exact replica of the Dharma Initiative village from Lost. No kidding. This place was a little off the beaten path and as such it was hard for me to get a lot of information about it. I knew approximately where it was located and I was pretty sure of how much it was going to cost us, but that was pretty it. There are a chain of Field Schools in Israel and they are kind of like educational hostels for hippies. They usually have an educational focus like water conservation, or desert animals, and they teach classes, host groups of youth and naturist types folks, and poor traveling students like us who don’t need much by way of modern comforts. They spoke mostly Hebrew at this place, and I was again VERY glad that Max is a bit of a language genius. In fact, his language skills were pretty much the first thing on my list as far as “preparation”. How would we get around? We’d just have Max talk to people. How would we know when the next bus would come? We’d just have Max talk to people. It’s been a great travel strategy for us.

Anyway, so I didn’t know this when I booked it, but our “hostel” was right on the Mediterranean sea. We walked along the beach for a while before heading back to Dharmaville, watching “Live From Bahgdad” on our laptop (which was really amazing), talking across the room in our respective double beds about the Middle East for an hour or so, and then falling fast asleep after a long day of public transportation.


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