It was hot. The driver on the coach had warned me not to walk, but I had slept through my stop and the only way back was on foot. The Dead Sea in July reaches 50’c and with only a few sips of water left, I was starting to realize the driver was right. The road snaked ahead of me with nothing but rock and salt either side. I laughed out loud. It seemed ages ago now, but it was only this morning I had decided to miss my flight home and head south from Jerusalem. I wanted to take in the Dead Sea and then head down to Elat, cross the border into the Sinai and then on down into Nuweba.I had heard, there was a wild dolphin interacting with people just off the coast from a Bedouin village and it sounded good enough to tear up my return flight to Heathrow. I would leave how to get home to the great man himself. It dawned on me as I was slowly evaporating on the asphalt I would be lucky to make it to the youth hostel, never mind the Sinai! I might need the great mans help sooner than expected.
It was so quiet that I could hear the diesel struggling up the hill I had just climbed, long before it appeared out of the heat haze. With an explosive exhalation of hydraulics it came to a wheezing stop beside me snorting like an impatient Bull. Hiss.. The door opened;
“Are you crazy man?”
The driver was perched on a large orange cushion by virtue of being so short and despite having three battery operated electric fans blowing into his Ray Ban bespectacled face wasn’t managing to look quite as cool as he obviously felt. Never mind, the 30’c drop in temperature was welcome and tripping over machine guns I made my way to a seat. I never did get used to so many Israelis carrying guns, maybe being the only person without one had something to do with it?
Having survived day one of my journey into the unknown, I took stock at the youth hostel and counted how much cash I had left. It wasn’t looking great but watermelon, humus and pita bread were cheap and I was sure I could stretch it out for at least another week! I managed to sell off a couple of youth hostel vouchers that night I had bought in Tel Aviv to two young Swiss girls which meant I could enjoy a cold beer or two as I contemplated the next step of my adventure.
The plan was to stay in Eilat for a couple of days before heading across the border into Egypt, but as I stepped off the bus, I was filled with such revulsion for the place, I changed plan and headed straight for the border. Having spent my teens in Dubai when it was just a desert and watched, as it had slowly become a toy town, I had developed a disliking for neon signs and the so-called spoils of democracy. It hadn’t escaped my notice how the Arabs and Israelis both aspired to consume as much Ben and Jerry’s as they could get their hands on. When it came down to it, without their different interpretations of Gods spoken word, they were pretty similar.
After the pink and lime green Neon of Elat, the border crossing was like stepping through a dimensional doorway back in time. A few goats chewed on cardboard and there were some wooden benches thoughtfully scattered near huts made out of plywood which served as both the immigration offices, the bus stop and the cafe. Flies seemed to understand where they belonged and their population had increased with every step I made out of Israel. Most congregated on a mangy mutt sleeping under one of the benches, the others were buzzing around a hypnotic blue light unaware of their impending doom.
With no obvious information of what was supposed to happen next, I ordered a coke.
“Salaam Malaykum” I said, “Is there a bus to Nuweba?” “Inshalla” said the immigration official, ticket officer and bar man with a grin! It was getting dark, so I sat down and patted mangy mutt who briefly lifted his eyebrows in recognition but was busy licking his backside and was obviously getting much more pleasure from it than I could give him!
Having finished the coke I was watching the dying embers of sunlight in the sky when I heard him, “Sharma Sheik, I wanna go Sharma Sheik” “yes yes tomorrow says the barman”
I turned to see a huge American guy with a cowboy hat standing at the bar.
“Hi” I said, “You heading to Sharma Sheik?”
“Yeah sure am, Michaels the name” He said “but there’s no bus till tomorrow morning!” “How about you?”
Reaching out my hand I say, “Oh I am going down to Nuweba, I am trying to find a village of Bedouins who have made friends with a dolphin called Olin?”
“Is there a bus?” He asked
“Your guess is as good as mine”, I say
“Tell you what do you mind if I tag along?”
“Not at all, I would be glad of the company,” I say.
The bus did show eventually but not before we had time to chat. I told him about my journey with Reiki, giving up London life and living in Scotland, he told me he was traveling on his own and hoping to meet up with people he knew in Sharma Sheik. The bus ride was intense and in spite of the dark, we eventually found the village in Nuweba. Michael and I ended up staying for two weeks, getting to know Olin the dolphin and swimming with her every day. It was incredible that even though we were in the middle of nowhere, each day someone new would turn up having heard about this magical place and the Dolphin.
After ten days there was a group of eight people including Michael who wanted to learn Reiki there and then. I offered to teach everyone in exchange for the money to buy myself a ticket home. We assembled a makeshift healing room with sarongs and palm trees and performed the attunements there in front of the ocean. We exchanged treatments lying on rugs on the ground and the energy just flowed. When it got too hot we swam with Olin or rested in the shade of a palm tree.
After the Reiki experience, Michael came to me and said, “I will remember these two weeks for the rest of my life”. I gave him a big hug and said “It’s not by chance we met each other at the border crossing. My journey with you has made me realize It’s only when we trust and let go into the flow of life that we realize how rich and abundant we really are, It was great traveling with you. It made it so much richer for me and now I can afford to get home”
To celebrate our last night the moon spectacularly rose in full from behind the Sinai mountains and we all decided to go for a swim. Treading water with the full moon above bathing us in silver light, we joined hands in a big circle. From beneath us Olin rose from the depths and surfaced in the circle, clicking wildly, we gathered around her and gave her group Reiki and she just lay there in our arms receiving… Unbelievable! If I hadn’t witnessed it I would never have believed it, I was filled with so much gratitude.