Tuesday morning and I'm getting ready to move on. Eilat was interesting, very much a resort town. The airstrip (It's not really an airport) is literally right in the middle of town. It's about 2 blocks wide with stores and hotels on either side. On the flight here a man told me there was a convention of theIsraeli Bar Assoc here this week. Maybe why the hotels were booked up when I made reservations. The Americana is okay, esp for $70. a night with breakfast. But the cheap room meant hauling luggage up two flights to the back of the courtyard , a room with a view of the street and a few cigarette burns on the furniture. I wore my sandals in the room because the carpet was groddy and used my bedbag. Thanks Pru. The pool is only open 10-5 but it's a short walk to the beach and a supermarket is next door so it all worked out okay. The breakfast spread was impressive. All kinds of cheese and yogurt (so of course no meat, just weird pickled fish). Yesterday there was cheese souffle today pancakes and roasted vegatables. All the usual fruits,vegetables and salads, etc. I could use a peanut butter sandwich or a good BLT. The restaurants here are designated either meat and fish or dairy to accomodate those people who keep kosher. Even here,the more orthodox women keep their hair covered. People are here with all kinds of kids, even very little babies. Large families seem to be the norm with 3 or 4 common and I've seen families with 6 kids. How do they afford it??? The dads seem to be very hands on.
Eilatis small, around the hotels there are no traffic lights, only round abouts at the intersections. They seem to keep traffic flowing well. In the middle of one was a big stone with a masonic symbol on it and some sort of plaque, too bad I don't read Hebrew. Cabs are everywhere and not expensive. There are a couple big malls as well as all the souvenir shops, you go through a metal detector to enter. There are some pretty nice looking yachts harbored in the lagoon. The coastline is different. Here the beaches are in between ports for shipping and a huge naval yard. There were big pipelines coming in from the port, presumably for oil. There was a fleet of cars also, not sure if they were coming in or going out.
There's no laundry service here so yesterday I took a cab to the laundromat and washed clothes. It's a good way to see more of the people who live here. I went out to the Coral Reef Reserve and did some snorkeling. I hate to sound jaded but the coral was pretty anti climatic after what I've seen off Cozumel and Ambergris Cay. Still interesting. The wind here is almost constant and seemed very strong yesterday. I saw people water skiing by being pulled by some sort of semirigid parafoil. Some of the better skiiers were able to jump or get pulled in the air and one guy was doing flips. The wind created some pretty choppy water and I had to work to move around (don't worry Mom I rented a life vest to float on). After I got out the rangers made an announcement that the waves were unusually high and snorklers should stay close to the bouey lines they have set up. On my way back I stopped at a seaside cafe and had some lunch. I ordered a lemonade/mint and got a lemon slushy that had been blended with fresh mint leaves. Very refreshing. I had been trying to make arrangements to travel to Petra today and because it's across the border with Jordan, it seemed like no one knew how to do it. Everybody wanted to sell me a tour to Petra and back. I'm moving on, not coming back, didn't seem to register. So I did what any self respecting savvy tourist would do, went to the concierge at the Sheraton, lied about what room number I was in and got 'er done. So, Yev will take me to the border, I'll cross and Ahmed will pick me up and take me the rest of the way. Even if the concierge figures out today I'm not staying at the Sheraton, the drivers have been engaged and paid so won't be cancelled. After a long hot day and many days of walking I scheduled a massage, one of the services that is available at the hotel. A young, strong, Israeli man poured hot oil all over me and massaged away my sore muscles. It was lovely and I feel great today. Ready to move on.
So, I'm off to pack up and headtotheSheraton. I'llbeattheEdomhotelinPetratoniteandtomorrownight.