Monday, March 5, 2012

The Be'er Sheva Survival Kit, by March blogger of the month Cherec Dickey

The Be’er Sheva Survival Kit
After spending the last seven months here, I’ve realized that there are some material things that are necessary for a favorable life in Be’er Sheva.  I listed a few of them below to give you another glimpse into life in this desert city.  It’s never boring!

No parking spaces? No problem! You can just drive your car onto any curb or sidewalk available! 
1) A bike.  Bicycles are a necessity for every student, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Never before in my life have I had trouble finding a parking spot for my bike.  When I go to the main BGU campus, I see bikes – everywhere!  To accommodate the lack of bike parking, perhaps we should implement a “Student of the Month” spot for bikes.  Another option would be to get a car . . . because then you could park where ever you want! 

MSIH bicycles parked outside of a hookah bar.
It’s usually obvious anytime MSIH-ers are out in Be’er Sheva – because of the plethora of bikes locked in random places just outside of the building.

Carrying things around Be’er Sheva in style! 
An added bonus is the signature “Be’er Sheva Green Milk Crate” that one can attach to the back of the bicycle.   If you get one of these, your life becomes significantly easier.  You can fill your lovely green basket with your backpack, goods from the shuk (market), or even your pet cat (or any other cat wandering around).   Green milk crates are the fad these days.
While not every MSIH student has a bicycle (some are fortunate enough to live within a short walk of campus), bicycles provide a great (free) means to get to and from the grocery store or pretty much anywhere else in the city one may want to go. 

2) Catnip.  Remember those (slightly annoying), “What people think I do . . . What I really do” posts that were incessantly popping up on Facebook?  My Israeli friend posted this one on my wall, and it’s probably the best way to describe why you may want to have catnip on hand.  

Israel, or at least Be’er Sheva, in a nutshell.
One million slightly happier dumpster cats is better than just one million dumpster cats, right?

The view outside our classroom on the
6th floor at Soroka Hospital.
3) A scarf or other anti-dust device.  In the past couple weeks, we’ve been experiencing our first taste of the infamous desert dust storm.  At this point, I would no longer consider it a “taste” but rather a heaping helping.  These photographs were taken by my classmate on Wednesday afternoon.

 Cloudy with a chance of dust . . . everywhere.
4) A rain coat.  It’d probably be best to keep the anti-dust device and your rain coat together.  After each of those wretched dust storms comes the torrential rain.  You may think, “Desert?  Rain?  Really, it can’t be that bad.”  No, really, it is.  I thought the same thing and didn’t bring a rain coat.  Don’t get me wrong, rain is a beautiful thing in the desert, and I can’t wait to see the fields of blooming flowers that come afterward.  Maybe that will even happen before the month is over, and I can show you some photographs.

5) A camel.  Okay, you don’t really need a camel, but I couldn’t leave this one out. I keep insisting to my classmates that a camel would be ideal in Be’er Sheva.  Not only do you get a wonderful, unfriendly pet that will spit in your face on a regular basis, you have a ride to class, the grocery store, and the movie theater.  Most of all, you will look incredibly cool atop your camel.

If you can get past the flies and spit,
a camel is ideal as a ride and companion.

6) A tent.  You will want to have one of these on hand in case any random tent cities pop up in protest of housing prices or other issues.  They’re also good for camping excursions in the desert, but really, I’m convinced that people just have them for protests.

A glimpse of the world-famous tent 

city in Tel Aviv, taken last summer.

7) Quality running clothing.  A number of my classmates took a break from their studying last weekend and participated in the races of a lifetime: 10K and half-marathon at the Dead Sea.  I am told that they had a wonderful time, and that four of the MSIH 10K runners got first place.  They even had a picture to prove it.
MSIH runners at the Dead Sea Half/10K last weekend.

Proof that four of the MSIH female runners in the Women’s Open 10K got First Place!

 Seriously, though, everyone did great at the race, and I’m really proud of them all!

8) Lastly, one needs a little black dress (or otherwise suitable attire for the live theater) to fully enjoy this city.  You want to look nice when you go to support your classmates in the musical theater production of Oliver!, right?  Last Thursday was opening night for two of our own MSIH-ers: Angelie Singh (a first-year) and Sarah Dennemeyer (a second-year).  Some of us got together and put an ad in the program to congratulate them.  I thought it was really sweet.

Sarah and Angelie surrounded with MSIH
love at the Oliver! opening night

They did a fantastic job, and we were so glad to be able to be there to cheer them on.  Congratulations, Angelie and Sarah!  They’ll be touring Israel to perform throughout the next month, going to places like Haifa, Netanya, and Jerusalem.

That’s all I have for now!  Be’er Sheva is a wonderfully unique place, and should you ever decide to visit or move here, maybe my list will be of help to you. Lehitra’ot! - blogger of the month, Cherec Dickey