Ruth had to go to Jerusalem to work early in the morning. She was kind enough to let me sleep in, though. I had to return the rental car by noon and we had lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant afterwards.
I took the tram to the ‘French Hill’ to start hitch-hiking to Eilat. There were about 30 young Jews waiting there already. It took me about 1.5 hours to get a ride. Amir drove what must have been the filthiest car I’ve ever seen or been in. He was a nice guy, though, and took me to En Boqeq, a resort town at the Dead Sea. There I was unlucky at first and when it got dark I decided to take the bus instead.
When the bus arrived the driver showed a remarkable rudeness that seems to be typical for quite a part of the (non-Arab) Israeli population. A grumpy ‘no ticket, no seat’ by him and I was back to square one.
I managed to advance a few kilometers to Zohar junction with a guy named Nil, who handed me a beer (he was having one himself, too) when I climbed into his car.
At Zohar junction I was stuck for a while. Traffic was low and nobody stopped. It was around 7.30pm by now. I walked a kilometer or so to a petrol station. Salem, a proud Bedouin working there, helped me by asking the few stopping cars for their direction. He also offered me a lift for a few kilometers should I still be there at his shift’s end. A young Israeli couple stopped and I asked them for a ride. They didn’t speak English and let me tell through Salem that they weren’t going very far from here. As soon as they had left he told me that they were indeed going as far as Eilat…
Well, Salem found me another guy who finally took me down south to my destination. We arrived at 11.40pm, not without me dying a thousand deaths because what’s-his-name was quite tired.