I’ll own up to it: it’s been two days since I last posted. I’m still pretty happy that I was able to post for 12 days straight.
David and I took the bus from Tel Aviv to Eilat on Sunday morning, and it felt like we left Tel Aviv right on time. We had cold weather and rain all weekend and that cloud was supposed to hang around for the next week. So, we escaped to Eilat. Sunny and 85 degrees is the forecast for the next week here, and that’s alright by us.
The ride down took about five hours, and we read for most of it. The bus made a stop at a rest area about halfway through the ride, where we unloaded for exactly fifteen minutes. I stepped into the McDonald’s at the rest area for lunch only to discover that McDonald’s is really expensive here! A regular hamburger ran about 45 nis or $11. A Big Mac, which is called a “Big America” here in Israel, cost about $15! Isn’t that name poetic?
Anyways, I ended up settling on a kebab from the place next door (much cheaper!) and hustling back to the bus. David, on the other hand, assumed that the driver meant an Israeli fifteen minutes (anywhere between ten to thirty minutes) and ran up the stairs onto the bus just as the doors were closing..
The drive down to Eilat took us through both the Arava Desert and a part of the Negev Desert. The closer we got to our destination, the more distinct the landscape became, with massive red clay canyons reminiscent of those in Arizona, and an imposing mountain range rising over the flat desert to the east. It was pretty incredible watching the landscape change so drastically from the rolling green farmland outside of Tel Aviv to the dusty red Negev!
Finally, we arrived at the central bus station in Eilat, and made our way to our Airbnb apartment. The place is way nicer than our first apartment in Tel Aviv with real space to walk around and a place to sit that isn’t the bed. Walking down to the water, we began to discover Eilat in all it’s beauty and weirdness.
Eilat is a strange, strange place. Even lonely planet (the travel website) describes it as “brash and ugly.” The airport is located in the middle of the dusty, low downtown, which makes it really noisy. There’s a shopping mall right on the water, and the board-walk is trashier than the one in Ocean City, with countless trinket shops (probably selling the same crap you’d see in Ocean City), convenience “Super Markets”, and aggressive salespeople marketing expensive glass-bottom cruises. It’s not exactly charming. Luckily, that’s not all of Eilat.
Today, we’re taking our host’s advice: we’re getting take out cous-cous from the Moroccan place across the street, hopping on bus to Migdalor Beach (“Lighthouse Beach”), a more secluded spot away from the many hotels, where our host says there’s lots of coral to look at and some dolphins! Annnnddddd: we’re bringing the GoPro!