This page covers July 2008 to March 2009. Here is my most updated page on Arad, Israel.
Here are some photos and QuickTime 3d's.
You can view the full sized panorama as well.
February 2009 - The weather cooled down in September and October. By December, we needed to use radiators to heat the house. Its a warm winter with little rain this season. There have been a few cold fronts, but there are also warm days. The worst part is the haze. We're talking sand and dust that comes from Libya and Egypt to Israel. Its not just in the Negev. You don't see much more than a grey-blue sky and its wonderful for breathing. Hopefully next winter will bring more rain to Israel.
We've gotten to know the stores here better. There are a few bakeries and supermarkets to choose from. The taxi drivers are easy to deal with - most rides in the city cost 15 shekels ($3.75). There was a Tower Records until December - we came home from a trip and yet another music store had closed. At least we managed to get some Putumayo and other World Music cd's on time.
The mall has the basics - a small food court, clothes stores, stationary, toys, post office, sunglasses, pharmacy, supermarket and even a computer store. We miss the restaurants in Eilat the most. Arad has a few restaurants, but we go to Beersheva for the kinds of places you'd go eat at in a bigger city. Most of what we need is in Arad and when we want variety and more to choose from, we have Beersheva.
Arad must be 60-70% Russian. There are also English and Spanish speakers here. Many Bedouin live here as well. They're usually from nearby villages and work here and probably like the less conservative lifestyle in an Israeli town. The population is older than average for Israel. The challenge for Arad is to bring in more young people.
Arad has a nice mix of city, small town and country. The mall and commercial center are bustling with people in the day. There are lines at the supermarket and buses to Tel Aviv and Beersheva fill up. By sunset, people are heading home. Its quiet at night - at home and on the streets. When you walk around, you see the desert in the background - Arad isn't part of a metropolis. The sidewalks are wide and there are small parks throughout the city.
Everyone in the Negev is hoping the next government will invest in roads and infrastructure here in the Negev. The road between Arad and Beersheva could use some fixin'. There is already train service to Dimona. Hopefully, they'll bring it here too! We're much closer to Tel Aviv. That made it easier to see Blood, Sweat & Tears and the Harlem Globetrotters in Tel Aviv. We're in the Negev but its not hard to get to the center of the country to meet friends or see a show.
Its a different Israel experience living in the Negev. Most of us didn't grow up in a desert town nor think we'd ever live in one. I wasn't ready for it until my 30's and I'm glad I spent my teens and twenties exploring Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the center of Israel. I live in the Negev over five years now. A kibbutz, a city and now a small city.
I took the photos that became this panorama on February 12, 2009. We've had little rain this winter. Many days have been clear and relatively warm. Nights are almost always cold and our home is colder than those in the center of the Arad as we're right on the edge of the desert.
The next day, I took these photos on the way to town. Another warm winter day in Arad.
February 14th was just as nice. We're starting to explore other neighborhoods. Arad is one of Israel's largest cities as far as jurisdiction - the city has lots more land to build on. That means the neighborhoods are spread out and Arad can grow without losing its desert touch.
A few days later, a sandstorm from Sinai made its way to Israel. We had an orange afternoon!
Cloudy but not much rain..
Three days of nonstop rain in much of Israel. On March first we woke up to a rainy day in Arad. It was stunning watching the clouds pass quickly by throughout the day. A rainy day is a good day to get stuff done around the house.
Three days later and it was clear skies and warm. One of the nice things about living in a small town in a pretty area is being able to go on nature walks. We walked a lot around Kibbutz Ruhama when we lived there. In Arad - and any small town in the Negev or Galil - you have nature around you but have the luxury of a mall, stores and a gym within a walk as well.
On Friday, March 6, we had our first taste of 2009 desert heat.
A nice spring day means a long spring walk. We went on vacation on December 1st and came home on the 25th to a cloudy winter day in Arad. One day we were in the Bahamas on a cruise and six days later we were in Arad. It was a mild winter and we kept in shape thanks to the gym and walks to town. But we were indoors a lot. We got lots done at home this winter and there's enough to do to keep us busy throughout spring.
One advantage of a Negev (or Galil) town is living in a place with enough space for all of your things. We've all lived in apartments and temporary situations where we kept most of our stuff in boxes, waiting for the next place which would be bigger. And then one day you get to your place in the Negev - even in Beersheva its not expensive getting a place with an extra room compared to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or the Sharon area. There's room for everything - the books, souvenirs, wall space for posters, photos and calendars. Its a relief and its fun to finally have access to everything.
When you move to the Negev, what you give up in distance, you make up in space.
A sunny spring Friday in Arad. If you look closely you can see the mall in the background of two of the panoramas. There was a bike race and lots of cars near the mall.
Eight months in Arad filled up this page fast! Shows what a two megapixel camera can do. (The good one broke in Quito, Equador while backpacking in 2007!). The rest can be reached here.
Back to Kenny's Arad Page..
If you're interested in Israel, visit my other related pages...
Israel Culture in Israel
The Negev Kibbutz Ruhama
The Israel Trail
Jerusalem in the Snow
Jerusalem during Passover 2009