Friday, May 2, 2008

It's been ages.....

And I have so much to tell...

* Test season's over! This tuesday was the last test - Biochemistry - and what a test it was, good lord. Anyone who was asked about it complained about how difficult it was, which is perfectly understandable since the questions were never on the processed and cycles we learned but on teeny, meaningless details and petty things half of which we either heard a tiny bit about in sidenotes or things we were told will not be included in the test....way to go, assholes.
So far I'm taking Genetics, Animal Behavior and Anymal Physiology re-takes to improve my score on them and get my average bounced a bit.
Microbiology Lab test turned up to be quite the sweetheard; 86%!! first calculative-science test I got such a high score in, and it's got a heavy influence on the average, too, so that's sweet as hon-ey.
The next semester starts this sunday, which means I had 4 days to rest, relax and get ready for the new semester....lovely, innit?

* A tiny kitten was brought to the public garden/yard/walkway under my building by the cat-feeding-friend in the neighborhood. A cute little energetic male white and ginger fluffball, he stayed around for about two weeks, getting fed and played with by me three times a day (the friend who brought him coming to visit him as well, as well as another cat feeding friend from my building) and three days ago he was seen playing with two young ladies and later appeared no more in the shrubbery where he lived so, though I wasn't around to confirm it, he was adopted. Hopefully the little bugger's found a tolerant home because, as rediculously cute as he was, he had a nasty habit of biting as hard as possible when in a playing fit.

* Top celebrate the end of the test season, I joined a two day hike with two faculty friends in the Golan Hights. Though I worked a year in escorting trips and hikes around the country, I never had any hike that was this difficult or with the whole two days' equipment on my back (and, believe me, it makes a difference!) but, my god was it fun!!
We took a bus up north to Kiryat Shmone and slept the night there, hitchhiked our way to the start of the trip on the next morning, Making our way down from the middle of the Hermon mountain and surrnounding mountains's ridges, walked about 10 hours from our start point to our nightly resting point. the next day we finished decending the Golan Hights and into the Hulla valley through streams and beautiful, lush green land. It's a good season to hike in the Golan; right after the winter's freezing cold and before the summer sets in and makes everything yellow and dry. I had a ball of a time and traveling with two other nature fans who fawn over insects and other animals and flowers like you's great, great fun.
Piccies!!

A lovely butterfly we found on the side of the road and chased around like idiots to get good shots of, while trying to keep it off the road.
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What a looker.

View of the road we decended. We hiked through the various fields and groves and made out way to the little brown buldge you see to the right of the picture which is Kalat Namrud.
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A tiny turtle we found on our way, chatting with some frogs in a small stream. He had an incredibly long tail!
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If it's hard to spot the insect in the picture, imagine spotting it in life size (even tinier), which Zohar, one of the two guys I hiked with, managed it. The insect was perfectly camoflagued as a piece of drifting seeds the kind that flowers give way. Lovely thing.
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Some lovely blooming on a ground-splayed nettle.
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A slightly closer view of Kalat Namrud.
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View up at one of Kalat Namrud fort's guard towers
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The company. To the left is Zohar; a zoology-bound student who works with fresh water insects and hopes to find his niche in nature conservation and find a cute to human over population. To the right is Nativ; a Geography-Biology student who's inclined more towards the biology and hopes to find his spot in ecology. Both guys are quite the expert hikers and came equiped with all the gear, maps ect.
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A part of the re-built fort at Kalat Namrud. The fort was originally built by the Mamluks a the beginning of the 13th century. After an attempted conquest by crusaders, it was regained by the muslims and renovated lavishly to its current and much larger shape with lots of halls, guard towers and particularly strategic gate (an 'L' shaped entry with a very narrow corridor so as to block any direct horde invasion with horses/spears/whathaveyou which can also be seen in the same-period main gate in the wall around the ancient city of Jerusalem)
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View at the Hulla valley and some leftovers of the Golan Hights from the fort.
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A carved declaration of glorification to the re-builders of the fort including details about when the fort was rennovated, who was its architect, the sponsor and the area's warlord who settled in the fort.
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Yours truely on some scattered rocks in one of the fort's yards. Te climb on that rock cost my left shin some skin....
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The guys on the top of the new castle's guard tower top. It was insanely windy up there as you can see by the wincing Nativ.
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View to the old and original fort.
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A lion carving found in one of the halls. It closely resembles the much earlier Assurian carving of lion hunts and other bragging depictions from the Persian area, IMO anyways.
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Over time, one of the lowest halls became filled with water and the cielling collapsed after various earthquakes and now the place's filled with pea soup (not really, but it looks like it, don't it? 8D)
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View at the western wall of the fort, along the line of the new fortification with its guard towers and the older part.
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Inside the 'Beautiful Tower', a guard tower with seven arches and a seven-edged pillar in the center, each arch with its medivel firing slit.
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Such as this:
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View at the new fort from the old fort tower.
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We almost finished decending from the mountain on which Kalat Namrud was perched and were about to decend more to the Banias river nature reserve on which we had a clear view of (and where I spotted a rather large hyrax, the only one of its kind which I saw in the whole trip) when a grasshopper nymph caught our eye.
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The Bainias fall. Down its stream we found a place to perch and spend the night in the reserve, near a bend in the river, under the tree's canopy. Before we entered the Banias resevre Zohar, who had a lot of work in his lab, left us and the next day was jus me and Native.
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The Banias' trail through the thick bush and forest on the final trail from the Golan to the Hulla.
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Dragonfly; not just a lovely Fleetwood Mac song.
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Some botany.
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A trailer we found on a resting point in Shear Yeshuv village at the end of the Bainas resevre. The whole resting stop was full of these mosaic-works; the picnic tables, the various flower pots, some of the floor tiles, quite some work.
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Turtles in a small stream by Dafna kibbutz.
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A crab at a smililar stream further down the road.
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View from the edge of one of the kibbutz's fields at the area we hiked a day before. The kibbutz sealed off the thicket at the stream's edge (probably clearing the land to make for agricultural processing), leaving around the stream only a skeletal coverage of the actual stream of the natural wild greenery and broadered it all off with a lowe electric fence against wild boars....the field itself was fenced off so there's no free access for humans nor animals...aren't humans great -_-
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A cock up a tree in a by-the-stream fish restaurant on the Snir stream. We had a bathroom stop there, no dining.
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A small cascade on the Snir stream trail. We took a swim in the stream's freezing cold water (its a melting-snow water stream and the season was early enough for it to be still chilly) which was quite rediculously fun.
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A huge tree on the Snir's stream. Much of the trail there was through the water.
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And that's that! See you in the next semester....