Our first night in the Negev, we stayed at Chan HaShayarot, just south of Sde Boker, in Bedouin tent lodging.

The Chan was set up as a compound of extra-large tents, divided by tarps into separate sleeping sections. Some people went full out camping and brought their own food & cookstoves. We didn’t bring anything but clothes with us (the Chan even provided light sleeping bags; we should have brought towels), but Sarah (friend, not Sarah “mommy”) brought matches. She didn’t know why she brought them, but she did. Moments later, one of our neighbors asked us if we had matches and then he shared his tea with us!

we slept in a colorful tent on stacks of mattresses

and had a scrumptious meal in the dining tent.

The stargazing was amazing because we were so isolated — no interference from city lights, plus a cloudless sky. People came out of their tents at night and sat around campfires, talking, drinking tea, playing guitar.

The Chan was also a camel farm in the tradition of ancient caravan stops along the spice route. Travelers would need a tent to keep them warm and a place for their camel to rest.

Getting ready for a trip.

In the morning, we took a ride.

view from camelback, beyond the Chan

the camels are gentle enough for riders of all ages

Noah befriended an elderly German woman, there with a tour group and got her to show him the journal she was keeping of her travels. He spoke to her in Hebrew, even though she spoke to him in German-accented English. We kept trying to explain that she didn’t speak Hebrew, but he’s stuck on the idea that he should speak Hebrew if he’s speaking to a non-native English speaker.

Did you know that one of Noah’s favorite activities is playing in the sandbox? If we ever wanted a quiet hour on a Sunday morning, we’d take him to the sandbox at our neighborhood playground in Brooklyn and he’d let us read the paper while he was completely content to play. Did you also know that the Negev is like a giant sandbox? It was almost impossible to keep this boy off of the ground.

the Negev is an important stop during migration. I tried to identify this bird, but couldn't find it. Anyone know?