Our route in South America - coming to your screens straight from my 11 year old sister's bedroom wall.
We are now in Israel, where we are stuck in limbo - by far not done with our trip, but are yet to start its next leg. Between my painting and Shurik's Hebrew lessons, we managed to squeeze in an adventure or two.
First, a leisure trip to Eilat where we wanted to do some diving in the Red Sea. However, our dive turned into a Patriotic Underwater Photo Shoot when our guide wouldn't let us turn our heads towards a coral or a fish, only to his camera, and was positioning us, among other things, with the Israeli flag. To our bewildered looks "What about the fish that we came to see?!", he said that while there is plenty of them in the sea, on his PC there is a file where we can see all the fish of this area without wasting precious underwater time that can be spent posing around corals. We didn't realize he wasn't joking until the air in our tanks ran out and all we had were couple hundred pics with us signaling "OK" with our hands.
After the diving we figured that if the day turned out to be such a "Tourist Trap", we might as well do something tourists don't miss here, so the natural choice would be to take a ride on a camel and then park for a while in a Bedouin tent sampling Bedouin bread and goat cheese.
Weeks passed and we were drowning in our Limbo routine. I was spending most of my time with my art teacher, Shurik in front of my grandfathers computer, and the Stusik_i_Sharik combo met mostly at grandma's for dinner and the occasional TV program in English (which happened only if my grandparents fell asleep in front of the screen, and the remote could be pried safely out of their hands). We tried to make the most out of the situation: helped grandpa in the office, filled out some papers for my uncle online, interrogated grandma about the family history for the family tree, and finally, with her help, whipped up some dumplings, the recipe for which I got from an indigenous woman at the foot of Roraima mountain in Venezuela. To say the least -- we were bored.
We needed faster moving relatives and luckily such came along. Zhana (my grandmother's cousin) told me of another relative - Oleg, who was apparently a pretty cool individual, took up rappelling a few years ago. We got in touch, and after some convincing, and proving (I sent pictures from the trip) that we are serious adventure seekers, he agreed to take us with him to Canyon Parsa in Yehuda Desert next to the Dead Sea. "Great!" I thought. "What's the big deal? Some trekking, some rappelling. No biggie, right?" Wrong! It was a big deal. Even more correctly, a freaking HIGH deal. Somehow, it didn't even occur to me that dropping down several times from a height equivalent to a twenty story building (!!!) would be a bit breathtaking. For those of you not familiar with the activity, I can shortly describe it as lowering yourself into nothingness that you are even afraid to look at, and all that is holding you is a rope no thicker than your thumb. Obviously, you are being belayed by a person above and below you; but still, when all you can see is a rope hooked into your harness, and all you can feel is endless air below your feet, it's all pretty damn f&*!# scary! We had about six descents, three of which were around sixty meters each. All I know is that after the first one I was speechless from fear, and my mouth couldn't be drier even if you stuffed it with cotton. The only thought I remember having while on the rope is "Man, am I glad I remembered to cut my nails!"