Writing a Letter While Floating in the Dead Sea, Israel, 1984

Writing Love Letter to Judith While Floating In Dead Sea, 1984
Israel – 35mm film
Around the World 1982-1984 – Israel

June 22, 1984
Jerusalem, via Bethlehem, Dead Sea and Jericho

Today was one of those fantastic days, though when I awoke I didn’t feel so hot. I went to Bethlehem with Peter after sending a telegram to Gabrielle in Cairo. The scene at the Church of the Nativity was “shameless,” so many folks clicking their Instamatics down there, pushing. I bussed back to Jerusalem and then walked/hitched to En Gedi on the Dead Sea. A Norwegian girl with her girlfriend also hitching: we shared a ride after some time standing on the road together. I considered giving up everything and going to Eilat with her. I felt a strong, natural attraction for her – blond, tall, thin, nice looks, tan, sexy jean shorts, twisted front teeth and friendly.

I lay in the water at En Gedi and I wrote a letter to Judith. What a terrific sensation it was laying on my back in the water. I hitched to Jericho and listened to tour girls explain, “… oldest defensive structure on the face of the Earth,” point to the cliff behind and say “… place where the devil tempted Jesus.” Back to Jerusalem. Damascus Gate. I exchanged a look with a girl. (Though I’ll never tell her – she reminded me of Toniça, my beautiful young girlfriend from New Orleans that broke my heart (and I probably broke hers).) I buy a falafel and watch her walk up the steps. Flash. I’m tired of letting beautiful women walk right past me. I casually follow her but I’m so far behind I lose sight of her. I have to track her with my wits. Around a turn I come upon her. “Do you know where the Ragadan Hotel is? …Are you going home to your husband?…Boyfriend? Where do you live?” (A: San Francisco.) I tell her why I followed her. We have soda water on her tab at her nice hotel. Later, I came and slipped note under her door. Political argument back at hostel. Laughs. Slept about 2am.

June 23, 1984

Among the activities of the day: I walked along the Via Dolorosa slowly, trying to envision Christ’s walk. In the chapel at the 2nd station, I sat, feeling some mystery, for twenty minutes. Across paving stones that may have been those that Christ walked on (3rd station). At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Previously I had visited the (Western) Wailing Wall, but to my dismay no one could be seen, or heard, even whimpering, let along wailing. I dropped a letter off for Judith at the post and I tried to pen one to Dad but was not satisfied with it. At 6pm, I went by Pam’s hotel and found her there. I got her address and asked her if she’d like to be my sailing partner. (Waves her hand, says ‘I volunteer.’) Dragged myself out to Champ’s Bar with friends in evening. Watched videos of Simon and Garfunkel, Rod Stewart, Men At Work, Super Tramp, etc. Noticed how much movement there is always. Thought it good to employ this method (as in hitchhiking).